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Explosives recipes were ‘just for interest’

| Friday, 6 July 2007 Source: Pendle Today

A FORMER British National Party candidate accused of plotting to make bombs from chemicals he bought on the Internet claimed today the substances were for cleaning his false teeth and unblocking drains.

Robert Cottage (49) told Manchester Crown Court he thought some of the other chemicals could be used to protect him from bird flu and purify water if supplies were cut off during civil unrest - two of his great fears.

Cottage, a bus driver who transported disabled children, feared immigrants were swamping Britain and bringing it to the brink of civil war.

When his home in Colne was searched by police last September, 21 chemicals were found. Officers also discovered crossbows, air pistols, BB guns and ammunition, along with excessive amounts of rice, sugar and petrol.

Under cross-examination, Cottage said it was a coincidence he had boughtchemicals just days after printing off recipes for explosive devices from the Internet.

He told prosecutor Miss Louise Blackwell QC he downloaded the Anarchist Cookbook and printed off sections out of "idle curiosity" but could not explain why instructions for making a Molotov cocktail, a pipe hand grenade and dynamite were in his possession.

"I can't explain why I printed them off - I had no interest in making the devices, it was just for interest,'' he said.

Cottage told jurors he used an email address involving the phrasebrotherofenoch" as his views on immigration were close to those of Enoch Powell's. He said uncontrolled immigration frightened him but he was not racist.

Cottage and his co-defendant, dentist David Jackson (62), of Nelson, are charged with conspiring to cause explosions intended to endanger life.

The pair, who met at BNP meetings, are also charged with possession of explosives for an unlawful purpose. Jackson denies this charge, but Cottage admitted it during their first trial in February at which a previous jury had failed to reach a verdict.

Today, Cottage told jurors he did not discuss making explosives from the Anarchists' Cookbook with Jackson. "I don't think he even knew the Anarchist Cookbook was in my possession,'' he said.

Cottage admitted buying a separate batch of chemicals on behalf of his friend, but said he did not know why he wanted them.

The case continues.

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