Terror raid eBayer "was only making fairylights"

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A man who bought items on eBay to make fairylights and fireworks had his home raided by police because they thought he was making a bomb. West Midlands police broke into a Sutton Coldfield flat owned (though not occupied) by Neil Harris, who had bought items such as salt petre (which can be used to manufacture an explosive), a rucksack and an electronic relay board. When Mr Harris went to the police station to try to resolve the matter, he was held for three hours’ grilling as a terror suspect. He later commented:

“A bit of old-fashioned policing would have sorted this out. Had they made a few local enquiries, they would have realised I don’t exactly fit the profile. The only thing I’ve got in common with a terrorist is not having a criminal record – and maybe having scientific hobbies. But it got me thinking about how they found out about what I’d bought. Do MI5 or the police monitor sites such as eBay?”

I’m afraid I have to disagree. Suppose Mr Harris *had* been making a bomb? How much blame would have been thrown at the police and at eBay then? Perhaps the investigation could have been a little more low-key, but I think his busted front door is a small price to pay to avoid another 7th July.

Via Tulip Tools.


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