A WIRRAL man who threw a home-made bomb at children has been given a suspended jail sentence.
Graham Sherratt hurled the explosive device in a cardboard tube, which went off with a pop, at youngsters whom he had found annoying and police were called to his home in Kellet Road, Leasowe.
His actions later led to an area of Leasowe being evacuated as bomb disposal experts detonated two further devices found at his home.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that when a police officer arrived, he found Sherratt unkempt and agitated and he calmed him down.The officer went inside and found chemicals in several rooms and a home-made electrical device in the bedroom.
Sherratt explained he belonged to a pyrotechnic organisation and made fireworks in his home.
The officer left intending to give him a fixed penalty notice and spoke to neighbours.
When he returned, Sherratt had closed the front door and only partly opened it when he knocked, refusing to let him in. After a scuffle the officer got in and detained him.
Other officers arrived and on entering his untidy home, they found a small pipe bomb in a jar on the kitchen window sill and outside the back door they discovered a larger pipe bomb.
The fire service was called and bomb disposal experts detonated the two devices, one which would have been ignited electronically and the other by a fuse, in nearby Boyd Close after the area had been cordoned off and residents moved out.
The explosion took place in a sandbagged area at 5.30am while nearby residents were staying overnight in a community centre.
"Such was the force that debris was flung five metres and ripped open some sandbags", said Geoffrey Lowe, prosecuting.
When questioned Sherratt, now 57, admitted having "a fascination" with explosives and was "infatuated" with such matters, said Mr Lowe.
Sherratt, now of Lamport Street, Toxteth, pleaded guilty to making explosive devices involving two pipe bombs, and affray on May 16, 2012.
The court heard that sentence was taking place so long after the incident partly because Sherratt had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
That treatment has finished but he has lost three-and-a-half stone, is still on medication and has now discovered a lump on his neck, said Keith Sutton, defending.
"He has had an interest in chemicals and explosions since he was six. He is a member of the British Pyrotechnic Association and takes these interests seriously."
He added that Sherratt would not commit such offences again.
Imposing an 18-month jail sentence suspended for two years, Judge David Aubrey, QC, said some might view Sherratt, who taught himself electrical engineering, as an eccentric.
"You clearly had a desire to experiment and the sheer quantity of such items illustrates the potential for harm to others inside your home or out."
The judge, who also placed him under supervision for 12 months, said it was accepted there was nothing sinister or connected to terrorism in his activities.