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Man jailed over homemade explosives

A man who made explosives from ingredients he bought on the internet to deter burglars has been jailed for two and a half years.

Martin Counsell, 52, manufactured a substance - also used by the July 7 London bombers - to scare off intruders.

The loner used his skills as an electrical engineer to manufacture the devices in the shed of his home in Cheltenham after spending £20 on ingredients.

Counsell downloaded instructions from the internet to manufacture his devices and stored them in two garages in the middle of a residential area.

Gloucester Crown Court heard that when police raided the garages in Up Hatherley and discovered Counsell's haul, 600 residents were evacuated from their homes. Local people were so concerned about what could be in their midst that a public meeting was attended by more than 200 people.

The court was told that Counsell was grilled by anti-terrorist officers for six days and they were satisfied he had no links to any terrorist group or held any extreme political views.

Prosecutor Lisa Hennessy told the court: "When Gloucestershire Constabulary received a tip-off from the Metropolitan Police that a man in Gloucestershire was seeking to create a fake identity card for MI6 they had little idea what they were to find.

"The man in question, Mr Counsell, had been buying various items on eBay that indicated he might be making explosive devices.

"His internet browsing history showed numerous searches dating from August 2011 on how to make small bombs and where to buy the ingredients."

The defendant, of Brooklyn Road, Cheltenham, admitted a charge of making between September 1 last year and May 12 an explosive substance "in circumstances to give rise to suspicion that he was not making it for a lawful object".

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