Sunday, 10 June 2012

Fifteen Year Sentence For 'Explosive' Armed Robber

Explosives and weapons were found by police at Mr James' Home

By Ben Aulakh

A man who kept a secret store of illegal weapons and explosives at his home in Nottingham has been jailed for a total of 15 years.

The potent explosive nitroglycerine, a prohibited shotgun and unlicenced air gun were all found by police at the home of Mapperley home of Darren James, on October 13 last year.

Police, had initially visited the flat on Central Avenue in the town to recover a stolen Renault Megane, which had been taken by Mr James in Nottingham 6 months earlier.

However a thorough search of the property unearthed the potential explosive discovery, alongside the illegal weapons.

Mr James had previously been banned from owning a firearm or ammunition for the weapons which were found at the flat; he had also previously served five years for an unrelated offence.

Detective Chief Inspector Melanie Bowden, of Nottinghamshire Police said, “Darren James’s previous criminal history was obviously known to the police, however the presence of nitroglycerine or firearms in the flat was not suspected.

“We were acting on intelligence that suggested he may be connected to the theft of a car, and that information clearly proved to be correct.”

“However, once officers found what they believed to be explosive substances we took immediate steps to maximise public safety and to remove the chemicals to enable the search of the flat to continue safely.

“It is still not clear what James’s motive was for possessing or making nitroglycerine, naturally, we have explored the possibility that he may have been intending to use them to engage in some form of violent extremism.

“However thus far we have found no evidence to suggest that he planned to do either of those things.”

At the time the flat was searched the potentially explosive discovery prompted police to close the nearby Plains Road for several hours, while a specialist team was called in to remove the substances for analysis, as well as to carry out a controlled explosion.

Local homes, businesses and a school were evacuated and a 100m cordon set up to ensure the public were kept safe.

The 26-year-old of Bancroft Street, Nottingham, was charged with a total of 13 offences, and pleaded guilty to all counts at a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court.

Detective Bowden added, “This sentence should make it abundantly clear that the illegal possession or creation of explosives is viewed by the courts as a very serious offence.

“Mr James had stored these chemicals in a flat in a busy, residential area and there is no knowing what might have happened had they been ignited, either accidentally or deliberately.”

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