Serious risk posed by explosives haul
PUBLISHED: 16:30 12 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:09 10 June 2010
A Budleigh Salterton man who had nearly 110 kilos of fireworks dangerously stored in his home and a barn he rented was told by a judge he could have fallen victim to evil bombers . Exeter Crown Court heard the amount of neat explosives was nine kilos, wh
A Budleigh Salterton man who had nearly 110 kilos of fireworks dangerously stored in his home and a barn he rented was told by a judge he could have "fallen victim to evil bombers".
Exeter Crown Court heard the amount of neat explosives was nine kilos, which in the wrong hands could have been turned into bombs.
The court was also told that because no one knew 33-year-old Nathan Donovan had that quantity haphazardly stored, the fireworks at his home represented a risk of death or serious injury to his family of four children, neighbours and firefighters if they had had to attend a blaze.
Prosecutor Gareth Evans said firefighters would have also been put at risk it they had been called out to deal with a situation at the barn at Yettington.
Donovan, of Deepway, Budleigh Salterton, pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to take appropriate measures for the safe storage of explosives and was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months with 80 hours unpaid work in the community.
Judge John Neligan told Donovan: "When you were interviewed, you rather arrogantly took the view that you had done nothing wrong. But these were highly dangerous materials and if an evilly minded person had broken into your home or the barn, the explosives could have been used to make bombs. In the present climate, everyone must be highly vigilant and the message must go out to the public that the courts will not treat lightly cases where people store explosive material in a way that poses a risk to other people."
Mr Evans had told the court that acting on a tip-off, Trading Standards officers, accompanied by senior fire officer Michael White, had gone to Donovan's home where they had found 51 kilos of fireworks stored in boxes in the lounge, in the hallway at the base of the stairs and in the kitchen. One of the opened boxes had cigarette ash on top of the fireworks and Mr White said it was clearly a dangerous situation. He also said the boxes stored at the bottom of the stairs would have posed a problem with evacuation. After that discovery, the search moved to the barn where a number of boxes of fireworks appeared to have just been "thrown in" for storage.
The gross weight of fireworks there was 58 kilos.
Mr White was to say that the situations were very dangerous and "the indiscriminate storage posed an increased risk of serious injury or death".
Mitigating, Nick Bradley said the fireworks were for a street party and friends had chipped in to help buy them. Since the discovery, Donovan had had to pay back his friends and he also had to forfeit some allegedly counterfeit clothing, which he had taken in payment of a debt. That meant that he was already £1,000 out of pocket.
He said Donovan now appreciated that he had put people's lives at risk and this was a lesson learned that would not be repeated.
Mr Bradley said Donovan was a man who "lived by his wits" and made his money mostly from selling returned beds. Although that business was slow at the moment he was doing his best for his family.
In addition to the suspended sentence and the unpaid work, Donovan was ordered to pay £700 towards the prosecution costs.