Blackburn bomb fanatic kept two cannons

Blackburn Citizen: A gas mask, found at Timothy Rookledge’s house A gas mask, found at Timothy Rookledge’s house

A 30-YEAR-OLD man with an ‘unhealthy’ interest in explosives kept two ornamental cannons, which were capable of being fired, in his bedroom.

Police found the weapons at Timothy Rookledge’s rented property in Wensley Road, Blackburn, when they went to investigate an allegation he had assaulted his landlord while holding a machete.

They also recovered black, explosive powder, pyrotechnic fuses, firecrackers and commercial fireworks.

A bomb disposal squad had to carry out a controlled explosion of one of the cannons on Blackpool beach. The court heard how the cannon had been capable of being fired and the defendant accepted he had done so on his birthday.

Rookledge, of Heaton Street, Blackburn, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years at Preston Crown Court yesterday.

He had pleaded guilty to possession of an explosive substance under suspicious circumstances at an earlier hearing.

Judge Anthony Russell also made it a requirement of his sentence that he stay under the supervision of the probation service for two years, have mental health treatment and pay a £100 surcharge.

He said: “Clearly you have a genuine interest in these items which in my view is rather unhealthy.”

“Possession of any explosive substance is a very serious matter.

“There is always a risk not only yourself but to others by people having items which are capable of exploding or when put together exploding.

“There is always a concern as to why somebody should want to have such items in their possession.

“There is also a danger that such items can easily get into the hands of others and as a consequence be misused.”

Alexander Rostron, defending, said: “The cannon was only a really very small item. He was given it by a neighbour who knew that he was interested in weapons.

“He paid £100 for it. He thought it was a ornament.

“This is a man who has really not intended to harm anyone.”

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