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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Ex-BNP man jailed over chemicals
Robert Cottage
Robert Cottage admitted a charge of possessing explosives
A former British National Party (BNP) candidate who stored a collection of explosive chemicals at his home has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Robert Cottage, 49, of Talbot Street, in Colne, Lancashire, had pleaded guilty to possessing the chemicals.

Police found the stockpile at his home, which he had been hoarding in anticipation of a civil war.

Cottage was cleared after two trials at Manchester Crown Court of conspiracy to cause explosions.

He has already served more than 10 months in jail and is likely to be free within six months.

'Potentially dangerous'

His barrister, Alistair Webster QC, said his client accepted he had bought the chemicals but said they would only be used to create "thunder flash" style bangers to scare off intruders.

Sentencing Cottage, Mrs Justice Swift said Cottage's actions had been "criminal and potentially dangerous".

She added there was a low risk of him committing further offences.

"I am satisfied it was Cottage's views on how he put it 'the evils of uncontrolled immigration' would lead to civil war which would be imminent and inevitable.

"I accept the intention was to hold these chemicals until the outbreak of civil unrest. That was a criminal and potentially dangerous act.

"In letting off any such thunder flash mistakenly believing you were under threat you may have caused injury to some innocent person."

Robert Cottage failed to be elected as a BNP candidate in three local elections.

A second man, dentist David Jackson, 62, was also charged with conspiracy to cause explosions but was cleared after the jury twice failed to reach verdicts.

Judge discharges bomb plot jury
12 Jul 07 |  Lancashire

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