In the Media

Man accused of making explosives on trip wires apologises for sparking terror alert

PUBLISHED June 9, 2012

Martin Counsell has written a letter to his local newspaper in Cheltenham, Glos, saying he is sorry for causing "all the inconvenience" in the terrorism scare.

He is due to appear at Gloucester Crown Court next month to answer a charge of making an explosive substance.

He explained he had attempted to set up trip wires around his home and said he had used pea sized pieces of explosive material to produce a "bang" to scare away intruder.

Dozens of families were evacuated from their homes when suspicious items were discovered in a garage owned by the 52-year-old.

He has now written a letter, which was dropped off at the Gloucestershire Echo offices by his father, saying he was "devastated about all this" and "so sorry for what has happened".

He wrote: "My most humble apologies to all concerned."

He said he was only trying to protect his family from thieves when they moved into their new home.

Nearly 100 homes surrounding Buttermere Close were evacuated following a police terrorism probe and military controlled explosions last month.

In the letter, Counsell admitted that his plan to protect those he loved had backfired.

He said: "I was only trying to keep the family safe but now destroyed their lives.

"I am devastated about all this and am so sorry for what has happened."

Counsell said he had tried to put together a deterrent which he had made from items he had bought on the internet.

And he insisted his actions were to create security measures to scare off burglars.

"I made some trip wires that just go bang to deter people," he added. "These items were never made to harm anyone.

"My daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren were moving in and out of the house.

"There were about four to five of these devices which each contained a pea size bit, of bang material.

"My family are now scared to move back into the house due to the stigma of all this."

Counsell's solicitor Lloyd Jenkins confirmed the letter was real.

"It genuinely is a letter from Martin expressing his sincere remorse," he said.

"He gave it to his father to hand in to the paper."

Counsell has indicated he will plead guilty to the charge.

He is due to appear before Gloucester Crown Court next month, although no date has been set.