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Pipe-bomber jailed after device explodes in Nottinghamshire village

A man who assembled a home-made pipe bomb which exploded and led to police evacuating homes has been jailed.

Christopher Barber constructed the device which detonated and caused an ‘almighty bang’ heard by nearby residents.

A resident found it in a ditch along a lane frequently used by families and dog walkers behind the back garden of his home.

Believing the device had already detonated due to its appearance and that it was safe to do so, he moved it off the lane and onto his back garden out of harm’s way before calling the police on 28 February 2021.

He recalled hearing a loud bang from the bottom of his garden a couple of nights earlier.

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Army bomb disposal experts were called to the scene in Riverview, Church Laneham, and a large police cordon was put in place while residents were evacuated as a precaution.

Bomb disposal experts assessed the device and confirmed it had already detonated.

In their opinion if the device had not exploded in the way it did, the pipe could have fragmented causing even more damage and increasing the risk to the public of harm.

Following enquiries police arrested 65-year-old Christopher Barber in connection with this isolated incident which was not linked to terrorism.

Barber, of Clayhough Lane, Church Laneham, went on to plead guilty to making an explosive substance for an unlawful purpose.

When police searched his premises they found a number of chemicals and powders that could be made into explosive substances if mixed and added to other ingredients.

They also found live ammunition and discovered that Barber had set up what he described as a booby trap security device on his shed door.

It was also discovered he had made home-made videos, which he sent to friends, in which he narrated and demonstrated how to make a home-made pipe bomb. One of the devices captured on film was very similar to that recovered by the Army bomb disposal experts.

Barber was jailed for two years when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on Wednesday (10 November 2021).

Detective Sergeant Jackie Price, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Barber’s actions were severe and posed an extreme risk to anyone in the vicinity.

“He clearly has a fascination around making devices and exploding them as well as playing with chemicals to see how they explode and burn.

“It is extremely lucky no-one was injured in this incident. It was only a matter of luck the device malfunctioned at the point of explosion, otherwise the pipe could have fragmented causing even more damage and increasing the risk of harm to the public.

“Local residents described incidents involving loud bangs and bright flashes coming from Barber’s premises, giving context to his fascination with pyrotechnics.

“There was also clear indication that within his property there was more than enough materials to make further devices if he so desired.

“I am pleased he has now been removed from our streets. I’d like to thank local residents for their cooperation when we had to evacuate the area and during our extensive investigation.

“I would also like to thank the Army and the explosives and forensics experts who helped secure the evidence which aided us in bringing Barber to justice.”

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