‘Loner’ who sparked terror alert jailed for five years
- Credit: Archant
A Suffolk man who sparked a terror alert resulting in the evacuation of 60 homes has been jailed for firearms possession.
Clinton Hicks was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday.
Suspicious items were found at the 59-year-old’s ground floor flat in Normanshurst Close, Lowestoft, during a search by police on July 28 last year.
Officers recovered two inert grenades and a revolver loaded with five of 46 blank rounds found in the flat along with a quantity of ball-bearings and chemicals.
Hicks was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm and being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism.
Following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Command, no further action was taken in relation to the terrorism offence.
In January, on what would have been the first day of his trial, Hicks admitted possessing a prohibited firearm – a BBM Bruni Model .380 revolver – modified to be capable of discharging a lethal projectile after being imported from a Spanish firm dealing in airguns and replicas.
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He was remanded in custody to be sentenced this week following a psychological report.
During a hearing over Skype, prosecutor William Carter said the report found no medical evidence of Hicks being diagnosed with the post-traumatic stress he claimed to have suffered since serving in a volunteer force in the Balkans in the early 90s.
Proof existed only that Hicks had served 10 months in the Territorial Army in the mid 80s and had visited Zagreb in 1993 with a friend, who was disturbed by his interest in the far-right and desire to meet ‘neo-Nazis’.
Edward Renvoize, mitigating, said if Hicks had invented his account of fighting in Croatia, it would still indicate deep-rooted psychological issues, which, the report said, required therapeutic intervention.
He said Hicks had an interest in militaria since his “troubled” childhood, but no intention of using the gun for the commission of crime.
Mr Renvoize suggested Hicks had exceptional reasons to serve his sentence in the community – not least due to a multitude of health complaints.
Judge Emma Peters described Hicks as a loner and a “relatively strange man”, whose only friends were cats, but she found no reason to spare Hicks the minimum mandatory five-year sentence.