A MAN who sold poisonous chemicals from a back-garden laboratory has been jailed for eight months.
Forty homes and businesses were evacuated for two days in August last year when police and an army disposal squad descended on the Gert Meyers’s home in Oxford Road, Bridlington.
The operation which followed cost £36,000 as tests were carried out to determine what chemicals were been stored in the shed. A controlled explosion was also carried out.
The court heard there was in excess of 200 unknown substances within the 55-year-old’s shed some of which were kept in a fridge and there were fears they could react with warmer temperatures.
Nadim Bashir, prosecuting, said Meyers was arrested during the raid on Thursday August 4.
He said: “He was asked if there were any substances on the property, including the shed, that could prove hazardous to searching officers, and he replied only that even water could be dangerous in some circumstances.”
Sentencing at Hull Crown Court, Judge David Tremberg deemed the case “troubling”.
He told the Belgian national: “When the authority raided your property your identification of the substances they found was proved to be chaotic. Some were labelled, some were written on by hand some were not labelled at all.”
He said: “Your behaviour represented a hazard to yourself and those around you” adding that there was “potential for some greater catastrophe”.
The court heard Meyers started experimenting with chemicals in the shed at the bottom of his garden of his terraced property in around 2010 when his daughter was taking science GCSEs.
He had set up a company trading chemicals which he obtained from a contact in Poland. He had not sold any chemicals since 2015 due to ill health which is before the licensing law changed. But his website remained active.
He was visited by the Home Office regarding the change of law and Meyers had a strong understanding of the changes in the Poisons Act.
He later said he had forgot to apply for a licence.
Meyers had also previously been visited by police after he legally sold substances to a right-wing extremist who was later charged with terrorism offences. Meyers did not know the customer’s intentions.
Speaking to the Bridlington Free Press following a previous hearing, Meyers said: “It’s like if you a run a hardware store and you sell kitchen knives, or knives with jagged edges,are you going to ask every customer ‘what are you going to do with that knife?’ You have to trust people”.
At an earlier hearing, the 55-year-old admitted possessing nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, potassium perchlorate and potassium chlorate — all of which require Home Office approval.
Mitigating Stephen Robinson said his client fully co-operated with the police and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. He also spoke of his good character describing him as: “A hard worker, a family man, a respectable man.”
An alarm has now been installed on the shed and some of the chemicals have been disposed of.
Meyers has been given an eight-month sentence and received a criminal behavior order to ensure all chemicals are removed from his house by the end of the year.
The order stops Meyers directly or indirectly purchasing or storing raw or synthesised chemicals. It also prevents him from carrying out business involving raw chemicals or synthesised chemicals or acting as a consulting agent in a business doing so.