POLICE had to evacuate an area of Keighley after becoming aware a man was using chemicals to make explosives in his home.

Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday the authorities were alerted by ebay after Martin Panton bought chemicals online which were flagged on their system.

The alarm was raised leading to houses around his then home in Parkwood Street being cleared on the evening of September 4 last year but it was now accepted he had no terrorist intentions himself.

Mark Carroll, prosecuting, said inquiries revealed Panton had become fascinated with making explosives and had researched matters online for hours. He told them he did so because “he wanted to keep his brain busy”.

Among the documents he had downloaded was the Anarchist Cookbook 2000 and the Mujahideen Explosives handbook.

Mr Carroll said: “The Crown and police do not believe he has any terrorist mindset but essentially was dangerous to himself, his family and the local community being a liability conducting such experiments.”

Some of the chemicals purchased by Panton included hydrogen peroxide, nail varnish remover and hydrogen acetate, which could be used in the make of an explosive substance known as TATP.

When the North East Counter Terrorism Unit was made aware of his purchases officers arranged to see him at a police station because they were uncertain what he had in his home.

He was co-operative and when he told them of his purchases the Army bomb squad was called in and a 100-metre cordon was established around his home. About 60 homes were evacuated and a local community centre was opened for them to spend the night.

The Army officer who went inside the premises discovered various chemicals and carried out two controlled explosions.

Panton said he was surprised he could buy the supplies he did over the internet although one chemical was purchased from Poland because he could not get it in the UK. He told another man on line that he had carried out an explosion of his own on one occasion and had hurt himself at times.

Jayne Beckett, representing Panton, who is serving a ten-year sentence imposed in April for sex offences, said he was already a “sorry and isolated figure”.

He had no intention of using the items to harm anyone.

Panton, 49, admitted one charge of making an explosive substance, three of possessing explosive substances and six of possessing documents which would be useful to terrorists.

Jailing him for four years to run consecutive to his current sentence, making a total of 14 years, the Recorder of Leeds Judge Peter Collier QC said: “There is no evidence you support any terrorist organisation or cause, or possessed these documents or chemicals with the intention of encouraging terrorism.”

“You are not a terrorist, have no terrorist mindset and your activities were not done for terrorist purposes.”

He said it appeared Panton acted initially out of curiosity “but this appears to have become an obsession as you searched the internet”.

As a result of his actions his neighbours had to be evacuated and steps taken to make the area safe. He had plainly exposed others to danger with the way he had stored and used the supplies and while he did not intend terrorist acts his collection could have fallen into the hands of others.