Ex-soldier sets off nail bomb in Nelson street

Burnley Crown Court.''
Burnley Crown Court.''

FORMER soldier Leon Harker made a nail bomb from a coke can, sand a firework and exploded it in a residential street because he wanted to hear what a big bang would sound like, a court was told.

Harker, a roofer, put 20 - 30mm nails in the canister which he set off in Pinfold Place, Nelson.

He pleaded guilty to having an offensive weapon when he appeared at Burnley Crown Court and was given nine months jail, suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work.

Harker (27), of Thursby Road, Nelson, was also ordered to comply with a curfew from 9pm to 6am.

Miss Emma Kehoe (prosecuting) said Harker was seen to set off the device and, with others, to run down the road shouting “Yee Ha”. No one was injured in the explosion, but debris was sprayed about 10 metres.

Mr Mark Stuart (defending) said Harker had admitted immediately that what he had done was a silly prank. “He thought no one was around. This was not an act of malice and there is no suggestion of a political motive.”

Sentencing, Mr Recorder William Smith said he had given the father of two credit for accepting the responsibility for this actions. “There was the potential for harm had anyone been in the vicinity”, he told Harker. “I am sending the message that I do not regard this anything other than a serious offence.”