Man jailed after police found him with explosives

Alistair Bennett
Alistair Bennett

A paranoid schizophrenic with a semi-automatic and explosive device called police to tell them he might wreak havoc, but warned them: “Don’t send a platoon around”.

Alistair Bennett, 30, was armed with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) but told police he only had a blank-firing imitation pistol.

During a bizarre phone call to a police control room, Bennett - a fan of psychedelic drugs who thought he was “saving the world” - asked a startled operator about “the legality of firing” such a weapon in the streets of Scarborough, prosecutor Aisha Wadoodi told York Crown Court.

“He told police he wanted to fire it in Tennyson Avenue, but only wanted to fire it three times and didn’t want to upset anyone,” added Ms Wadoodi. “He said he didn’t want them to send a platoon around.”

Bennett - who had a previous conviction for threatening police with a loaded crossbow - appeared to have been placated by the operator, but hours later his girlfriend reported him missing.

“She said they had an argument and he was in possession of a blank-firing firearm,” said Ms Wadoodi.

In the early hours of the following morning - some 15 hours after Bennett had made the original call - officers found him on the outskirts of Scarborough brandishing the semi-automatic pistol.

He had hidden the weapon behind a hedge and circled it with orange spray paint. Officers found cartridges inside Bennett’s rucksack.

He was hauled to Scarborough Police Station where police found the IED in his bag. The explosive device, wrapped in paper, consisted of gunpowder, cartridges and ignition.

Bennett’s solicitor advocate David Camidge said the deeply-troubled defendant had been institutionalised and was given refuge in a hostel following his release from the Cross Lane Hospital in Scarborough.

Bennett, of Kealia Court, appeared for sentence after pleading guilty to possessing an imitation firearm and an explosive device on April 18, 2014.

Jailing Bennett for 20 months, Judge David Batty QC said: “There is no question of me releasing this man into the community. I’m not prepared to take the risk.”