Heather Exley was charged with ten offences under the Explosives Act and three offences under the Firearms Act, following an investigation by the North East Counter Terrorism Unit, supported by West Yorkshire Police.
Leeds Crown Court heard that on April 14 2014 officers attended Exley’s home address in Penn Drive as part of an ongoing enquiry into suspected drug offences.
During the search of the property, which lasted several days, a number of items were found including:
*2,000 rounds of ammunition including cartridges, hollow point bullets, soft nose bullets and sound moderator (without relevant certification)
*Improvised hand grenades
*Partially constructed hand grenades
*Other explosive material
*Low explosive compounds
*Improvised liquid explosive
*Improvised high explosive
The discovery resulted in specialists attending the property to secure and safely remove the items for expert analysis.
In December 2014, Exley was charged under the Explosives and the Firearms Acts. She pleaded guilty to the 13 offences in November 2015.
Detective Chief Superintendent Clive Wain, Head of the North East Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “I hope today’s outcome at court sends a message to the public that the possession of highly volatile chemicals and explosives is not only extremely dangerous but is also likely to constitute a serious criminal offence.
“Exley had stored these chemicals and explosives in a house in a well-populated residential area and there is no knowing what might have happened had they been ignited, either accidentally or deliberately.
“It is still not clear what Exley’s motives were for obtaining the chemicals, or possessing large quantities of ammunition without the appropriate certification. Whether it was a fascination with explosives and firearms, or her intention was more concerning, thankfully the items were removed before any further steps could be taken.”