Tag Archives: Bishop Auckland

A man who amassed an arsenal of weapons including explosives, knives and rocket mortars has been jailed for 30 months.

Simon Flint was arrested after a row with youths near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in June in which he pointed a loaded crossbow at them.

He had earlier admitted affray and possessing a prohibited weapon.

Teesside Crown Court heard the 42-year-old, of Meadowfield Drive, Eaglescliffe, had a fixation with weapons.

After his arrest, police searched a camper van in which he was living and found a “significant collection” of weapons, which also included swords, pepper spray and chemicals that could be used to make improvised explosive devices.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, told the court police searched his electronic devices and found videos of him blowing up an apple, a cucumber and a laptop computer.

He told police he thought the effect was “hilarious”, but he understood it may be illegal.

The court heard he told officers he had a fascination with “making things go bang”.

‘Unorthodox interests’

Flint had got into a row with some youths and when a dog walker went to be a peace-maker, the defendant pointed his crossbow at them, Mr Perks said.

Mr Perks said Flint was found to possess a number of stab vests, adding: “I think these acquisitions stem from a skewed sense of his need to defend himself.”

Mark Styles, defending, said: “His unorthodox interests have led to the situation he is now in.

“We have to concede he is certainly eccentric but he is not mentally ill.”

Judge Howard Crowson jailed him for two-and-a-half years, giving Flint credit for his guilty pleas.

Outside court, Gary Fotherill of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Flint appears to have been motivated by a compulsion to master the technical process of constructing improvised explosive devices and to use these to blow up inanimate objects for his own entertainment.”

BBC News

A MAN has pleaded guilty to a number of charges in connection with the possession of weapons and explosive making equipment.

Simon Flint had a huge collection of weapons, including more than 100 knives, improvised explosive crossbow bolts and a catalogue of components to build his own bombs, including potential pipe bombs.

The 42-year-old was due to stand trial this morning after being charged with seven offences following a police operation in Bishop Auckland on Friday, June 28.

However, this morning he pleaded guilty to three charges – affray and two charges of possession of explosive substances. He had already pleaded guilty to a number of offences at Durham Crown Court.

olyon Perks, prosecuting, said the defendant accepted that he had acquired the parts needed to construct an improvised explosive device.

He added that the defendant used improvised devices to blow up fruit and a laptop computer.

Mr Flint, who has an address at Meadowfield Drive, Eaglescliffe, but is understood to have lived in a campervan for a number of years, was charged with making threats to kill, possession of an explosive substance, two charges of possession of offensive weapons, possession of a weapon for the discharge of pepper spray, two charges of possession of a bladed article in public and a public order offence.

Among the items listed in the charges were three crossbows, a friction locking baton, lock knives and swords including one measuring 2ft long.

The precision engineer is also accused of possession of an explosive black powder, a weapon designed to discharge a noxious gas or liquid – namely pepper spray, and of using abusive, threatening or insulting words or behaviour to cause alarm.

Judge Howard Crowson adjourned the case for sentence and remanded Flint into custody.

He said: “We have admitted your offences and the next stage is sentencing but we will want to that right and it can be a little complicated, this piece of the law, so the lawyers are going to make sure they help me as much as they can and get this right.”

Colin Dodds, left, and Alan Dent, right, who have today been convicted of causing criminal damage to MP Helen Goodman’s office window

TWO men “deliberately targeted” the office of Helen Goodman MP in a politically motivated attack by throwing bricks through the windows, a judge has said.

Colin Dodds and Alan Dent have today been jailed after they were convicted of causing criminal damage to the Bishop Auckland MP’s office.

District Judge Helen Cousins has sentenced Dent to eight weeks and Dodds to 12 weeks in custody.

This morning, Dent, 50, of Co-operative Street, Shildon, admitted a charge of causing criminal damage after losing his temper and throwing a brick through a window.

And Dodds, 44, of Douthwaite Road, Bishop Auckland, denied the charge, but he has been found guilty of the offence.

The judge said the pair had deliberately targeted the MP’s office.

She said: “I saw two men walking down the street in a determined way with bricks in their hands and low and behold windows were then smashed.

“I have no hesitation in finding that it was deliberate – there can be no other reason than it being politically motivated for them to chose that building. This was a targeted attack on a sitting MP’s office.”

Teesside Magistrates Court heard how the pair had been supporters of far-right organisations, including the English Defence League (EDL) and had been subject to police surveillance while taking part in Anti-Islamic protest marches across the region.

Dent had told the court that he was ‘fully’ responsible for the damage but denied it was politically motivated maintaining that he lost his temper after spending the day drinking in Bishop Auckland town centre.

He said he was angry after seeing his ex-partner in town and got into an argument with a friend before picking up the bricks and threatening to ‘smash his head in’.

Dent told the court that his co-accused grabbed a brick out of his hand to stop him attacking their friend.

Under cross examination from Ann Mitchell, prosecuting, Dent said: “When I found out he (Dodds) had been arrested, I wanted to come to prove my guilt and prove Colin’s innocence.

“He stopped me doing something worse when he took a brick off me.”

She asked Dent whether he came to court to plead guilty and keep Colin Dodds out of trouble, he said: “It definitely wasn’t a planned attack, I was in my best clothes, it was broad daylight and I was drunk.

“He had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

Two windows at Ms Goodman’s constituency office on Cockton Hill Road, Bishop Auckland, were broken after being hit with house bricks on the evening of Saturday, April 6.

Dodds denied the attack was related to Ms Goodman’s stance on Brexit. He said: “I had no prior knowledge of it before it happened; it wasn’t planned and I had nothing to do with it.”

Under cross examination, Dodds vehemently denied hurling a brick through the window and maintained they were walking to his home on the Woodhouse Close estate.

Northern Echo

A HOODED raider wearing gloves, a face mask and dark glasses was allowed to rob a bank because the manager was worried about offending him in case he had a skin condition.


Simon Jones, 38, queued behind other customers in Bishop Auckland for 15 minutes wearing blue latex gloves, a hooded top pulled up, a face mask and dark glasses. He was also carrying a bottle of Febreze and a hold-all

Simon Jones, 38, queued behind other customers in Bishop Auckland for 15 minutes wearing blue latex gloves, a hooded top pulled up, a face mask and dark glasses. He was also carrying a bottle of Febreze and a hold-all


Simon Jones, 38, queued behind other customers in Bishop Auckland for 15 minutes wearing blue latex gloves, a hooded top pulled up, a face mask and dark glasses. He was also carrying a bottle of Febreze and a hold-all.

Not surprisingly customers and some of the staff strongly suspected he was up to no good and another person in the line was so concerned he took a photograph of Jones.

However, Durham crown Court heard that manager Gemma Hughes only asked whether she could help him as he stood in line and was worried about causing offence in case his strange attire was needed for a skin condition.

Jones was able to continue waiting until he reached the front of the line where he handed over a note to cashier Victoria Smith telling her he had acid and a bomb.

Terrified Miss Smith bundled £370 into Jones’ hold-all and he was able to escape.

Despite being petrified she had the presence of mind to hand over a decoy £1,000 bundle which contained a Nat West-approved tracking device.

But the bank’s humiliation was complete when the device failed to work and if it had not been for members of the public reporting Jones’ car he may never have been caught.

Prosecutor Jane Waugh told the court that Jones had researched how to rob a bank online and took his girlfriend’s red Ford Fiesta when she went to walk her dog on May 17 this year.

He drove to the Nat West but instead of bursting in and going to the desk he chose to stand in line.

Miss Waugh said: “Suspicions were aroused because of the appearance of the defendant and the fact he was rather obviously trying to avoid the security cameras.

“One customer said he “didn’t look quite right” and the police were called because of their suspicions.

“The manager approached the defendant as he waited in the queue and asked if she could help him. He replied no.”

Judge Christopher Prince questioned Miss Waugh about the manager’s actions.

He asked: “So it was a hot day, he was wearing a coat with the hood up, carrying a big bottle of Febreze, wearing sunglasses, a face mask, blue plastic gloves and yet he was just observed as he made his way to the front of the queue where Victoria Smith was left to be threatened by a man who said he had a bomb and acid?”

After taking advice, Miss Waugh explained: “The manager was concerned he might have had a skin condition because he waited patiently in the queue.

“She went to speak to him to find out if everything was alright.

“She tread a careful line between upsetting someone who might have had to wear such things to protect their skin or have a nasty motive for wearing such a disguise.”

Jones, from West Auckland, County Durham, admitted robbery and taking his girlfriend’s car without consent.

He was jailed for 40 months by Judge Prince who described the robbery as planned but unsophisticated.

The judge said that he did not want to criticise anyone in the bank for their actions that day.

But he added: “Whilst it might be understandable not to want to offend someone with a skin condition, such were the circumstances here it is perhaps only due to time constraints on staff in the bank that a lot more was not done to spare Victoria Smith from the situation that arose.

“She was left to face him one to one over the counter and was left in fear as to what might happen.”

The court heard that Victoria had spent months off work and was only now in the process of returning to duty.

In a statement she said she relived the moment she faced Jones in nightmares which kept her awake.

She said: “I felt like I was in a parallel universe where this was not happening to me. There were children in the bank in pushchairs, other staff and numerous customers. We all could have been hurt by the actions of this person.”

Gemma Hughes also made a statement after the robbery, saying: “My staff were terrified. I feel nervous for the staff and nervous opening up the branch tomorrow.”

Christoper Baker, for Jones, said he’d suffered a brain injury three years ago which had caused him “cognitive difficulties” and the Febreze bottle had actually contained Febreze and not acid as he’d said.

Jones, he said, had addictions to gambling and alcohol but had written letters for the staff to say that he was “genuinely sorry” for what he had done.

PC Andy Denham, from South Durham CID, said afterwards: “This was a planned and thought-out offence which terrified the bank staff and customers and has had a long-term effect on those who witnessed it.

“Fortunately, due to the vigilance of the local community who were in and around the bank that day, along with the help of the community in Coundon, the vehicle used by Jones was identified that same day, along with the clothing worn by Jones and the Febreze bottle.

“We were then able to swiftly identify, locate and arrest him and minimise the long-term effects of the robbery on the bank staff by placing Jones in custody at the earliest opportunity.”

Northern Echo

A demonstrator has been jailed for 14 months for throwing objects and hitting people with a flagpole in the Dover riots.

Daniel Spensley, 27, of Proudfoot Drive in Bishop Auckland, Durham, travelled to Kent to take part in a pre-planned march on Saturday 30 January 2016.

Fighting broke out when those present were met by other visitors who were holding a counter protest at the same time.

Daniel Spensley - latest jailed Dover rioter. Picture courtesy of Kent Police

Daniel Spensley – latest jailed Dover rioter. Picture courtesy of Kent Police

Kent Police detectives viewed hundreds of hours of evidential footage captured on the day and witnessed Spensley in a fist fight, attacking a person with a flagpole, and throwing rocks and brick.

He was arrested at his home address on February this year and and subsequently charged with violent disorder.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court last Friday.

Investigating Officer Det Cons Kirsty Bricknell said: ‘We will continue to pursue and convict protestors who acted in violence and without a care for the significant impact it would have on local residents.

“Spensley was one of these violent protestors and he, like many others, who thought they could evade justice by living outside our jurisdiction have been proven wrong time and again.

“Regardless of the difference of political views involved on the day, there is never any excuse for this type of criminal activity and I hope Spensley reflects on this while he is behind bars.”

The rioting had broken out when a march by far right groups such as the South East Alliance and National Front was confronted by anti-fascist protesters.

Ever since police have caught up with offenders and by March, 51 people were convicted.

Kent Online

Two more violent rioters are behind bars after admitting throwing objects at people in a violent protest.

Michael Reilly, 53, of Teilos Drive in Bridgend, South Wales, and Gary Crane, 50, of South Row in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, travelled to Dover to take part in a pre-planned march on Saturday, January 30, 2016.

Fighting broke out when opposing right wing and left wing sides clashed.

Michael Reilly has been jailed for his part in the Dover riot on January 30, 2016

Michael Reilly has been jailed for his part in the Dover riot on January 30, 2016

The right wing visitors claim they were protesting in support of lorry drivers facing fines when migrants board their vehicles in France illegally. A counter protest was organised and took place in the town’s market square in support of refugees.

Kent Police detectives reviewed hundreds of hours of evidential footage captured on the day of the disturbance and witnessed both men throwing objects.

 Gary Crane has been jailed for his part in the Dover riot on January 30, 2016

Gary Crane has been jailed for his part in the Dover riot on January 30, 2016

Reilly was arrested at his home address on Tuesday, June 21, and Crane at his home on Wednesday, July 20. Both were subsequently charged with violent disorder and pleaded guilty when they appeared at Canterbury Crown Court.

Crane was jailed for eight months and Reilly for 11 months.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Kirsty Bricknell said: “Gary Crane and Michael Reilly are the latest in a long line of offenders who are now behind bars for the violent crimes committed in Dover last year.

“Regardless of the difference of political views involved on the day, there is never any excuse for this type of criminal activity to take place.

Kent Online