'Bomb-maker Paul Smith was more of a danger to himself than anyone else'
DETECTIVES have revealed they trawled through an electrician’s mobile phone records for clues after finding a bomb factory in his backyard.
Unemployed electrician Paul Smith, 40, made deadly pipe bombs in his workshop.
Officers found two bombs in a raid on his home in Holm Garth Drive, which he shares with his elderly parents, after a tip-off from a member of the public.
Detective Sergeant Trevor Watts, of Humberside Police’s major incident team, led an investigation into the find on April 3.
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But he said his team quickly established Smith was not a terrorist.
Det Sgt Watts said: “We examined his mobile phone and conducted a number of other checks, looking carefully at his political and religious beliefs.
“We were satisfied, after concluding our investigation, that there was no sinister motive.”
However, the detective said the devices were capable of causing serious injury.
Det Sgt Watts said: “In truth, Mr Smith was probably more of a danger to himself than anyone else.
“It was clear he and his family thought nothing of his bomb-making hobby. He was even given a cake in the shape of a bomb.
“In interview, Mr Smith did not appear to think he had done anything wrong. He told us, ‘Some people collect stamps. I make bombs’.”
Bomb-making ingredients, including sulphur, iron oxide and magnesium, were found next to detonators, as reported in yesterday’s Mail.
On Monday, Smith was sentenced at Hull Crown Court after he admitted at a previous hearing to “making or possessing an explosive substance under suspicious circumstances”, under section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883.
He also pleaded guilty to possession of amphetamines, a class B drug, which he injected.
Judge Michael Mettyear told Smith: “At your age, you should have known better.”
Smith was given a ten-year Asbo, banning him from possessing explosives other than those “commercially available”, such as fireworks.
He was also given a 12-month supervision order, a six-month drug rehabilitation order and told to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
Det Sgt Watts said: “It was an extremely dangerous thing for him to have done. Two pipe bombs were recovered that contained unstable compounds.”
Prosecutor Richard Woolfall explained to the court how the devices were similar in design to those used by Irish dissidents and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Smith, who claimed he detonated devices he had made at Mappleton beach near Withernsea, had obtained bomb-making recipes, as well as chemicals, from the internet.
He also found some explosives – relics from the Second World War – on Great Cowden beach, not far from Mappleton.
Army bomb disposal experts declared the two pipe bombs too unstable to transport back to their North Yorkshire base, so detonated them in a nearby field instead.
The Mail visited Smith’s home for comment, but his father said to our reporter: “Will you explain to me how this is in the public interest?”