Ex-soldier jailed for Bloxwich explosives hoard
- 3 September 2014
- From the section Birmingham & Black Country
A former soldier has been jailed for amassing a large hoard of ammunition and military-grade explosives.
Joanne Morris's cottage on Station Street, Bloxwich, was raided by police in November.
Nearby properties, including Bloxwich police station, were evacuated and cordoned off for up to three days.
Morris earlier admitted a total of 10 charges and has been jailed for seven years after a hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
The 48-year-old - who went by the name of Paul Morris at the time of the arrest - was caught when airport borders agency staff intercepted a parcel containing gun parts addressed to her.
Police said a raid on her home uncovered the largest single haul of its kind in the West Midlands in the past 10 years.
Bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion on detonators, while officers said 1.5kg of explosives was discovered that "had the potential to flatten homes and put lives in danger".
West Midlands Police said search teams found seven sticks of plastic explosives, detonators and fuses buried in a flower bed, plus a basic improvised explosive device made up of gun powder and metal caps inside a plastic denture tablets tube.
Det Sgt Craig Newey, said Morris had "accrued a dangerous arsenal of firearms and explosives over several years".
He said she was "highly trained" and had all the components to build "viable explosive devices".
"Though there was no evidence she intended to use them in anger, they posed a huge risk and were potentially deadly," Det Sgt Newey said.
"Chemical warfare protection suits and ration packs were found at the address. One hypothesis was that Morris was preparing for some kind of world war three 'doomsday' scenario."
The haul included ammunition presses, bullet casings, bullet heads and gun powder, as well as explosives typically used by the army for demolition exercises, police said.
Morris worked as a nurse after leaving the army and was an ambulance controller at the time of her arrest.
In May, she pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawfully possessing ammunition, four counts of unlawful possession of an explosive substance, one count of making an explosive substance and one count of illegally possessing a shotgun.