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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 July 2007, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Judge discharges bomb plot jury
Robert Cottage (L) and David Jackson (R)
The men had denied they were plotting to cause an explosion
A jury in the trial of two men with British National Party (BNP) links accused of plotting explosions has failed to reach a verdict.

Robert Cottage, 49, and David Jackson, 62, both from Lancashire, had denied conspiracy to cause explosions with intent to endanger life.

The judge at Manchester Crown Court discharged the jury on Thursday and ordered the men be found not guilty.

The Crown Prosecution Service said there would be no further retrial.

The jury informed Mrs Justice Swift they were unable to reach a verdict on the charge after deliberating for more than a day and a half.

Guilty plea

It was the second trial the men had faced after a previous jury failed to reach a verdict in February.

The conspiracy to cause explosion charge was dropped for both men.

A formal not guilty verdict was also entered for Mr Jackson, of Trent Road, Nelson, with respect to the charge of possession of explosives that could reasonably be suspected to be for an unlawful purpose.

Former BNP candidate Cottage, of Talbot Street, Colne, had pleaded guilty to the possession of explosive substances during his first trial.

He will be sentenced on 31 July and could face a maximum jail term of 14 years.

Chemicals found

During the trial the jury heard that boxes containing 21 different kinds of chemicals were found by police at Cottage's home in September 2006.

Cottage, who has failed to win three local elections standing for the BNP, admitted he planned to make gunpowder to cause thunder flashes to scare off intruders in the event of civil unrest.

During his evidence, he also told the court the substances - including nitrates, chlorine, ammonia and acids - were for cleaning his false teeth, clearing his drains and protecting himself from bird flu.

Mr Jackson - who met Cottage at BNP meetings but was not a party member - admitted he had asked Cottage to order him some chemicals from the internet so he could pursue his interest in chemistry.

Speaking after the hearing, Superintendent Mick Gradwell of Lancashire Police, said the force accepted the result of the court process.

"We carried out a full and professional investigation and worked closely with our colleagues at the Crown Prosecution Service throughout to ensure that the charges we brought were appropriate," he added.

Robert Cottage and David Jackson found not guilty

Jury retires in bomb plot trial
11 Jul 07 |  Lancashire
Chemicals used 'for false teeth'
06 Jul 07 |  Lancashire
Bomb accused man 'lost the plot'
03 Jul 07 |  Lancashire
BNP man and dentist in bomb trial
02 Jul 07 |  Lancashire

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