Drinker is jailed after petrol bomb blunder

A RELIEVED pub manager said his customers can now feel safe after a blundering bomb-maker who created Molotov cocktails following a bar-room row was jailed.

Andrew Price, aged 53, appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Monday and was due to stand trial but instead pleaded guilty to attempting to create an explosive substance on March 22.

Price had been drinking at the Dolphin pub in Uphill but after being accused by the pub manager, Phil Blake, of writing ‘graffiti of an unpleasant nature’ on the walls of the toilet, he was asked to leave by staff.

He then went back to the home of friend Michael Thomas, where he was a guest, and began creating two molotov cocktails – but as he used diesel instead of petrol the bombs were deemed to be useless and incapable of exploding.

Prosecuting, Richard Posner, said: “After this he left with some frustration and suggested they were communists and were behaving unreasonably.

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“He was still very angry because of what he felt was a slur on his character.

“When back at Mr Thomas’ house he filled two glass jars with diesel and used two rags for wicks.”

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Mr Posner said it appeared he planned to firebomb the pub but after a drink he then fell asleep.

Judge Martin Picton was told how the last time Price had encountered a slur on his character he also reacted in a similar way by using fire as revenge.

After being sacked from his role as a pub chef in Northampton he set small fires at the pub when people were inside. He was convicted for this in 2003.

The morning after he was ejected from the pub Mr Thomas spotted Price, of Monkton Avenue, with the bombs in the garden and called the police.

Price, who had by then made his way back towards the pub, without the bombs, was arrested outside the Dolphin.

Defending, Oliver Willmott, said Price had vowed never to commit such a crime again after the 2003 act and said he had ‘attempted to do the impossible’ as the devices would not have ignited.

Judge Picton said that given his past behaviour his actions were ‘legitimately worrying’ even though he had come to his senses in the end.

Price was sentenced to two years in prison, half of which will be served on licence. A restraining order was made in respect of the owners and Mr Blake, and he was told not to enter the area around the pub.

Speaking after the hearing Mr Blake, who lives at the pub with his wife, said: “He was not a regular and after the verbal altercation and after hearing about the petrol bombs people were scared.

“Overall the right decision has been made. We are relieved that he has been sent to jail and it was important for us to ask for a restraining order to protect the customers and families in the village so that people feel safe.”

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