A man who was in possession of explosive substances has been jailed
Anthony Laszewski, 57, of Twickenham Road, Isleworth was sentenced at the Old Bailey to a total of 20 months’ imprisonment for possession of an explosive substance (18 months); making off without payment (4 weeks); and attempted making off without payment (4 weeks).
At a previous hearing at the Old Bailey, he pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle with no insurance and making off without payment. On 27 June at the same court he pleaded guilty to possession of an explosive substance and attempted making-off-without-payment.
On Wednesday, 9 January, Laszewski went to a local petrol station and filled up his van and some cans with £70 worth of fuel. Staff recognised him from a previous incident on 31 December when he filled cans with £29.41 worth of fuel and left without paying.
Unbeknown to Laszewski, while he was using the pump, a member of staff approached the van and removed some cellophane that was concealing the front number plate. He then confiscated the keys from the ignition.
When Laszewski discovered the keys were missing he went back into the shop to demand their return. The staff refused and told him that the police had been called. He went back to his van and returned with the two cans of fuel and asked for his keys back? Again he was refused. He returned to his van and removed the rear index plate, which was different to the one affixed to the front, and left the garage without his van.
Police attended the garage and established Laszewski was not insured to drive the vehicle. A search of the van uncovered a box of jars which contained low explosive substances, low explosive powders and propellants, and flares.
Following enquiries to locate Laszewski, he was arrested on 10 January in relation to the suspected explosive substances found in his vehicle and taken to a south London police station. He claimed the items were for fireworks night. A search of his flat in Twickenham Road uncovered a number of fireworks.
Commander Clarke Jarrett, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: ““Following the identification of the dangerous items in Laszewki’s van, officers were swift to identify him and secure his arrest, removing a potential threat to the public. A search of his home address was carried out to ensure there were no other harmful substances in his possession.
“I praise the garage staff for their decisive actions which led to the detection of the explosive substances, potentially preventing someone being injured or worse.”
Anyone witnessing suspicious behaviour or activity or who has information which could assist police is asked to call 999 in an emergency or call 101. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111