Former BNP member jailed for bomb factory

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A former British National Party member was jailed for 11 years last week for hiding a large cache of weapons in his mother’s house.

Terence Gavan, 39, had been compared to homophobic Soho bomber and former BNP member David Copeland, who killed three in the Admiral Duncan in 1999 and injured others in Brixton and Brick Lane.

A police raid in May last year on the Batley home Gavan shared with his mother uncovered the largest stash of weapons ever found in west Yorkshire.

Gavan, a bus driver, had spent ten years making more than 50 explosive devices, some of which were disguised as cigarette packets and drinks.

Firearms, nail bombs and pipe bombs were also discovered in a locked attic room, along with various chemicals such as weedkiller, gunpowder and hydrogen peroxide.

Gavan was also found to be in possession of shotguns, around 40 knives and a samurai sword.

In court, the former British Army soldier was described as “a lone operator with an obsession with guns and explosives”.

Gavan admitted 22 counts relating to the manufacture and possession of improvised explosive devices, firearms and ammunition.

He also pleaded guilty to six offences under the Terrorism Act for the possession of weapons manuals.

Sentencing him at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Calvert said Gavan had no clear plan as to what he intended to do with his cache of weapons, although he was found to have a “strong hostility” to immigrants in notebooks discovered at his home.

In November last year, the country’s most senior anti-terror officer assistant commissioner John Yates warned of a rise in far-right extremism, which is typically a threat to gay people as well as ethnic minorities.

Assistant commissioner John Yates told the Commons Home Affairs Committee that police were seeing instances of “lone-wolf” offenders, who were poorly-organised but still equipped to kill or injure large numbers of people.

He said: “There have been several manifestations of that in past months and several arrests.

“That is something we take extremely seriously and we make sure we balance our resources to deal with that threat.”

In September, Neil Lewington was jailed for at least six years after being charged with terrorism offences. Materials found at his home suggested he hoped to emulate Soho bomber David Copeland.