Attleborough trader admits explosives offence after tip of woman’s finger blown off
An Attleborough trader has admitted storing 73kg of explosives without a licence - after the tip of a woman’s finger was blown off at a military show.
Paul Heddell, 52, trading as special effects supplier PDH Enterprises, admitted storing the explosives without the appropriate licence and failing to protect others from harm.
It comes after Sarah Bluck, then 48, was injured after she bought what she thought was a decommissioned pyrotechnic flash from Heddell.
The device removed the tip of her finger and caused burns to her body when it exploded in July 2013 at the War and Peace show at Folkestone Racecourse.
She visited the show to exhibit her Russian motorcycle and bought four thunderflashes, used in battle re-enactments, and began to dismantle one to see the inner workings.
When it exploded in her hand, she threw it to a space in the corner of the tent she was in, where it exploded again.
Sarah, of Sheerness, Kent, said: “I thought it was inert and it should have been free from explosives.
“They are meant to be completely safe - and the other three I had there were.
“This could have happened to anybody.
“This was on a shelf that was three foot something above the ground.
“A 10-year-old could have picked it up. It’s just nuts, really.
“I had a chat to the organisers. They were apologetic. It’s not their fault.
“Stall holders are meant to keep explosives locked away. They should be more responsible.”
Heddell will be sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on August 25.
The case was brought by Kent County Council’s trading standards department.
Trading standards manager Mark Rolfe said: “We hope that this conviction serves as a timely reminder explosives and pyrotechnic devices are extremely dangerous and should not be freely available to the public but only handled by those who have the necessary knowledge and experience.”