A man from Durham has been sentenced at Teeside Crown Court following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing North East in conjunction with Durham Constabulary.
Simon Flint, 42, from Durham has been sentenced today, Monday December 16 to two and a half years in prison for affray, the possession of offensive weapons, bladed articles and explosives.
Flint was arrested at the end of June, following a call to police from a concerned member of the public. Flint had been seen arguing with a group of young people before threatening a man with a crossbow. He was arrested a short time later by officers from Durham Constabulary, who stopped Flint whilst driving his motorhome on the A689 Coundon Bypass.
A comprehensive search of the vehicle by specialist officers found more than 100 knives, three swords, two crossbows, an axe, bolts and ammunition scattered throughout the living areas of the vehicle. Search teams also discovered stab proof vests, handcuffs and a number of explosives and electrical components.
The investigation led officers to search lock-up premises in Middlesbrough where chemicals and other items of concern were located.
Flint claimed he had been experimenting with the chemicals out of misguided curiosity.
Describing himself as a weapons enthusiast, Flint pleaded guilty to the possession of bladed articles, the possession of offensive weapons and the possession of prohibited weapons.
Flint also pleaded guilty to two counts of the unlawful possession of explosives and an offence of affray.
Due to the availability of specialist resources, Counter Terrorism Policing North East led the investigation with support from Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police.
Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden is Head of the North East. He said; “Flint had an alarming number of weapons in his possession when he was arrested. Whilst there was no evidence of intent to cause harm, in pleading guilty, he has recognised the serious nature of the offences and the consequences of his actions and behaviour.
“Flint also possessed and stored chemicals he knew were potentially dangerous. These substances can be unstable and attempts to manufacture them or adapt them can lead to the damage of property, serious injury or even death.
“Maintaining public safety is our number one priority and we will always seek to prosecute those who disregard and feel they are above the law.”
“The public are our number one ally in tackling all forms of criminality. Reports to police are vital in protecting our communities and keeping everyone safe. You can report concerns via gov.uk/ACT. In an emergency always dial 999.”
A Durham Constabulary spokesperson said: “When our officers stopped the motorhome and discovered the store of weapons and explosives inside, we had no choice but to carry out an intensive search of the vehicle to make certain the public were safe.
“We’d like to thank the public for their patience and cooperation during that sensitive operation, particularly with regards to the disruption to drivers on the A689. Once again, our community showed their overwhelming support for our officers during difficult circumstances.
“We can assure residents that our officers will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the community at all times”.