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Bang out of order: Computer video catches out man who made his own fireworks

A MAN was caught with explosive materials in his city flat after films of him detonating devices were found on an old computer.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court unemployed woodworker Lee-Jay Newman, 34, pled guilty to having explosives and explosive incendiaries.

He claimed he had the chemicals, which could make 1.5kg of explosives, because he enjoyed making his own fireworks.

Father-of-two Newman was caught when video of him setting off explosives in the woods were found on a discarded computer hard drive, which had been sold to a second-hand shop.


Lee-Jay Newman stored the explosives in his Edinburgh flat


They showed men in camouflage clothing setting off explosives, which the person who had bought the computer from the shop showed to police.

Specialist bomb disposal teams were called to Newman’s flat in Edinburgh last July when police searched the premises as they investigated the video.

When he was caught he admitted he had been a ‘fool,’ but said the explosives, which included materials to make black powder and the incendiary substance thermite, were only for pyrotechnics.

His defence agent said he was a ‘nervous’ man who enjoyed the ‘bangs and colours’ of fireworks.

Fiscal depute Isabel Clark told the court today (tue) that a crown witness and his son were stripping down the hard drive of a broken laptop they had bought when they discovered the video.

She said: “The witness observed video clips of men dressed in camouflage clothing detonating what appeared to be explosives.

“They were concerned and contacted the police.

“Police carried out inquiries on the hard drive which led them to the accused.”



Police searched the top-floor flat in Dumbryden Gardens, Edinburgh, and found several chemical substances in an attic ‘den’, Ms Clark said.

She continued: “It was in the attic that the chemical items, or most of them, were found.

“When the accused was placed into the [police] vehicle he said to the police officers ‘I know what this is about. There’s a can in the loft with thermite black powder in it.”

He was taken to St Leonard’s police station where he was interviewed and charged.

Specialist explosive ordnance disposal officers were called to the house, she said.

Newman admitted possessing potassium nitrate, potassium permanganate, sulphur and thermite, along with ‘pyrotechnic units.’

Ms Clark continued: “I understand there were a significant number of ingredients to produce 1.5kg of black powder.

“This can be made to explode within a solid container.”



Ms Clark said there was no evidence Newman had mixed the substances together to form explosives.

She continued: “Forensic examination was such that there were chemicals there with potential to mix to form an explosive or an explosive incendiary.”

Newman said he had travelled to a woodland area near Lanark Roadwith friends to set off ‘pyro rockets.’, she said.

He obtained many of the substances legally from Ebay, she added.

The fiscal depute continued: ““He was very embarrassed about his actions during the course of his interview.

“When charged he said ‘I have been a fool and I’m glad it’s being sorted.’”

His defence agent Rhona MacLeod said Newman was a ‘nervous’ man who suffered from high blood pressure

She said: “He has had an interest in fireworks for some time. He has had interest in making them, and video them going off.

“It’s been an outdoor pursuit and a genuine interest. He enjoyed the bangs, the sound and the colours.

“There’s nothing to suggest he has done anything other than set off fireworks.

“They were big boys out playing, running about setting them off, just having fun.”

“He’s a very nervous man, his position is he will never make a firework again.”

Sheriff Kenneth MacIver deferred sentence until May for reports.

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