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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.”