Dorset

Kevin Yates jailed over Wimborne home explosives 'laboratory'

Kevin Yates Image copyright Dorset Police
Image caption Former military aircraft designer Kevin Yates called the NHS hotline on 12 February to say he was "being drawn to explosives"

A man who turned his bungalow into "a laboratory" to make explosives has been jailed for four years.

Kevin Yates, 60, called 111 saying he was "a danger to other people" and "dabbling with chemicals" in February.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard a specialist army unit was deployed to his home in Wimborne, Dorset, and found "the ingredients" to make explosives.

Yates was found guilty after a trial of possessing an explosive substance and a regulated substance.

The court was told that Yates, a former military aircraft engineer, of Hayes Close, called the NHS hotline on 12 February to say he was "being drawn to explosives" and that "it is not very difficult to make these things".

Prosecutor Simon Jones said that Yates told the call handler he "needed help".

Police then attended Yates' home and an army bomb squad found bomb-making literature and chemicals.

These could have been mixed to make a form of gunpowder.

Image caption The Shell petrol station on Wimborne Road West was shut by police

They also discovered an "ineffective" improvised fuse and a container of sulphuric acid.

Defence barrister David Freeland said his client had been in family disputes, was drinking alcohol and was sleep deprived when he made the call at 01:15 GMT

"It was a perfect storm," he said.

Yates never intended to cause anyone any harm and had expressed concern for the safety of officers sent to his property, Mr Freeland added.

He acknowledged he was an alcoholic and a diagnosis of autism since spending time on remand has "helped him to become more self-aware", Mr Freeland said.

Image caption Police were called to Hayes Close in Wimborne at 03:15 GMT on 12 February

Judge Brian Forster QC told Yates that his calls to 111 "caused great concerns to those listening".

"In that state of mental turmoil, having a scientific background, you became involved in something that could be a risk to the general public," he said.

"Your home was almost a laboratory.

"It is important to keep in mind this was a residential area."

The find led to the closure of the Shell petrol station on Wimborne Road West. A cordon was also set up on Hayes Lane with nearby properties evacuated as a safety precaution.

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