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Author: Subject: The ordeal of my life… and a serious warning to British homechemmers!
blogfast25
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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 06:21
The ordeal of my life… and a serious warning to British homechemmers!


About a month ago I was arrested by British police and charged essentially with pursuing my chemistry hobby. To be fair, 7 years ago a so-called Criminal Behaviour Order was raised against me, effectively prohibiting me from owning any so-called ‘raw chemicals’ (their clumsy term, not mine)

Using electronic surveillance of my email account (Google) they detected several purchases of small amounts of laboratory chemicals and… pounced!

I was arrested, the immediate neighbourhood evacuated for 8 h (‘DANGEROUS CHEMICALS!’) and my house turned upside down for 3 days, while I languished in a police cell.

Eventually I was bailed for nearly a month, charged, then carted off to the nearest prison (a hellhole called HMP Hull – at the Clown Charles’ Pleasure) on remand.

By then I had a minimum sentence of 2 years in prison and a maximum of 5 years in prison hanging over me. Non-custodial sentences were completely off the menu.

Thanks to a brilliant defence barrister and a ton of mitigating circumstances we managed to persuade the presiding Judge to suspend a 24 mo custodial sentence for 24 months (with many conditions to be adhered to)

It’s worth noting that during trial, the prosecution repeatedly referred to my ‘extremist views on Israel’ (I don’t hold such ‘extremist’ views), such irrelevant referrals in a Court I believe to be illegal in a ‘Free’ society.

Finally, to Britchemmer hobbyists I can only say: BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL!! Make sure what you possess is not regulated (sulphuric acid, nitric acid, peroxides etc, to name but a few) and make sure not to attract attention of police or intelligence services because the legal consequences could BE VERY DIRE

Hobby chemistry is under sustained attack in the UK.




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Sir_Gawain
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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 11:43


It's not nearly as bad in the US, but it's getting worse. Many useful chemicals have disappeared recently and now a Walmart near me stopped carrying 93% sulfuric acid drain opener.



“Alchemy is trying to turn things yellow; chemistry is trying to avoid things turning yellow.” -Tom deP.
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blogfast25
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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 13:08


Quote: Originally posted by Sir_Gawain  
It's not nearly as bad in the US, but it's getting worse. Many useful chemicals have disappeared recently and now a Walmart near me stopped carrying 93% sulfuric acid drain opener.


Strange: I would have thought the US, with its emphasis on personal freedom, would be less affected...




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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 13:52


Quote: Originally posted by blogfast25  
Strange: I would have thought the US, with its emphasis on personal freedom, would be less affected...
It’s hardly affected. I always see people spreading alarmist stories about chemical crackdowns in the US, but it’s really practically nonexistent. Some stores just don’t sell certain chemicals. If a place stops selling sulfuric acid, just look somewhere else, it’ll probably be around. Ace Hardware is the most reliable store for it. The only chemical that has been officially restricted from consumer products recently was DCM, which is honestly probably for the best from a public safety standpoint, even if it makes things a little more difficult for us. For typical household applications, there are other equally effective and far less toxic alternatives, some of which may make other solvents more readily available for us. DCM is still perfectly legal to purchase online (albeit more expensive) or can be substituted with homemade chloroform in most applications.

I am truly sorry for what you’ve gone through, though. Clearly the actions taken against you were ludicrously heavy-handed. I saw an article about you a couple weeks ago that claimed the arrest was based on possession of “700 mg of sodium nitrate” Was it really that minuscule or was that an error/misinformation?




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Sir_Gawain
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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 14:23


You're right; It's not really a government crackdown, certain stores have just stopped stocking useful chemicals in favor of "safer" ones. The biggest problem in the US is the police assuming your chemistry lab is a drug lab.



“Alchemy is trying to turn things yellow; chemistry is trying to avoid things turning yellow.” -Tom deP.
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Admagistr
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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 14:24


British society is thinking like a bunch of psychotics,what about writing a petition of dissent and addressing it to the British government!Or leave the madhouse called Great Britain...I would leave Britain if I were you,even though it is so hard and you have lived there for a long time...They will never leave you alone unless society changes and the public has a different opinion...
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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 15:42


So according to the British government, a professional chemist, an engineer of chemistry, can't do experiments at home if he understands it and knows what he's doing?!
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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 15:50


Got a few houses for sale in my neighborhood, 20 minutes from the big city, 20 minutes from a national forest preserve, nice, quiet, deers, birds, and god-given freedom.
Tho we do require you possess and maintain a working firearm and ammunition to purchase a home, business, or land.




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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 16:46


Quote: Originally posted by Rainwater  
Got a few houses for sale in my neighborhood, 20 minutes from the big city, 20 minutes from a national forest preserve, nice, quiet, deers, birds, and god-given freedom.
Tho we do require you possess and maintain a working firearm and ammunition to purchase a home, business, or land.


And why the functional firearm, because of the bears, or is it so dangerous in the USA?Relatively few people have a firearm here, you know I live in Central Europe...
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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 17:27


Quote: Originally posted by Admagistr  
Quote: Originally posted by Rainwater  
Got a few houses for sale in my neighborhood, 20 minutes from the big city, 20 minutes from a national forest preserve, nice, quiet, deers, birds, and god-given freedom.
Tho we do require you possess and maintain a working firearm and ammunition to purchase a home, business, or land.


And why the functional firearm, because of the bears, or is it so dangerous in the USA?Relatively few people have a firearm here, you know I live in Central Europe...


I'm certain Rainwater is kidding about the firearm

edit--damn Bert, those news articles got you looking like the antichrist practically


[Edited on 7-1-2023 by arkoma]




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Rainwater
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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 18:28


It's mainly a deterrent to evil regardless of its form.
It's been the law in my city for almost 40 years. Violent crime isn't that much of an issue here.
Really off topic, not sure why i included that tid bit

Related to amateur chemistry, earlier this year, I had a sit down with the sheriff and asked him if there were any laws or regulations I needed to know about regarding my refining operation. I explained that it is a lot cheaper to make reagents, and I was worried that it would look suspicious, and I would be accused of something illegal.

Most of what we talked about was common sense stuff.
Locking dangerous stuff up, proper waste disposal, proper lables, and such.

He had a federal list he gave me of stuff i wasn't allowed to make.
Basicly, there are a few explosives, poisons, and precursors to drugs.
Told me, its my right as a citizen, as long as im not hurting anyone, accidentally or on purpose, he had no authority over my hobby.

Thats not saying they will never show up wanting to look around and make sure im not up to no good. Im sure if i piss off the right people, my chemistry set will be #1 on the list of stuff i have to explane. But lab notes, log books, and a not so up to date inventory will go a long way in explaining the what and why.




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[*] posted on 30-6-2023 at 22:41


Quote: Originally posted by Texium  

I am truly sorry for what you’ve gone through, though. Clearly the actions taken against you were ludicrously heavy-handed. I saw an article about you a couple weeks ago that claimed the arrest was based on possession of “700 mg of sodium nitrate” Was it really that minuscule or was that an error/misinformation?


The NaNO3 700 g was 'count 2' of the indictment! Ludicrous beyond belief... :mad::o:mad::o

Thanks for your kind words and agreed on the US situation.


One additionally galling consequence of this nightmare is that I won't be able to start my long-planned UToob channel. Unless I make it about physics...

[Edited on 1-7-2023 by blogfast25]




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[*] posted on 1-7-2023 at 07:21


Sorry to hear that Blogfast :(. I can't even imagine horrors you've been through. It's ridiculous they can harass you just because you pursue your hobby.
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[*] posted on 1-7-2023 at 08:37


[rant]Bordering on "forbidden" political discussion I am, but this is an instance of the nanny state in all its misguided glory, and it can happen both with the left and the right. I live in a pretty daggum "individualist" part of these United States, but I know if the "right people" get scared of or pissed off at me, a Federal case could probably be cobbled up against me, and even if acquitted in the end, it will cost me in both money, reputation and peace of mind. "Catch all" charges like conspiracy, etc. are pretty murky. A man here in the states was just convicted of federal firearms violations for literally a DRAWING. Very serious violations at that. For. A. Drawing. By a JURY. Linky to article

I imagine the Dear Citizens of Bridlington would be capable of being whipped in to a frenzy if we told them how much exposure they were getting to Dihydrogen Monoxide.[/rant]

[Edited on 7-2-2023 by arkoma]




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DraconicAcid
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[*] posted on 1-7-2023 at 10:33


Ask the judge to define "chemical".



Please remember: "Filtrate" is not a verb.
Write up your lab reports the way your instructor wants them, not the way your ex-instructor wants them.
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Rainwater
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[*] posted on 1-7-2023 at 13:41


How does someone correctly pursue a chemistry hobby in your country?




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[*] posted on 1-7-2023 at 14:03


Quote: Originally posted by Rainwater  
How does someone correctly pursue a chemistry hobby in your country?

Presumably, you get a job in the lab, and treat it as your hobby that you get paid for.




Please remember: "Filtrate" is not a verb.
Write up your lab reports the way your instructor wants them, not the way your ex-instructor wants them.
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[*] posted on 1-7-2023 at 15:14


Quote: Originally posted by DraconicAcid  
Quote: Originally posted by Rainwater  
How does someone correctly pursue a chemistry hobby in your country?

Presumably, you get a job in the lab, and treat it as your hobby that you get paid for.

And if you stay there after working hours, or do something that's not in your job description, the police will come and arrest you...:mad:

[Edited on 1-7-2023 by Admagistr]
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[*] posted on 1-7-2023 at 15:34


I am saddened and concerned by your treatment,
I have been operating on the assumption that 'common sense' would prevail in such circumstances,
clearly I am wrong.







CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
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[*] posted on 1-7-2023 at 21:51


I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I'm really surprised to learn that such treatment is legal.

What did they mean by "raw chemicals"?
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[*] posted on 2-7-2023 at 00:41


We have seen similar silliness in the USA.
For example the former ban on borosilicate glassware in Texas.
It started with the war on drugs and ended when a state senator broke a glass coffee pot and discovered they no longer sold them in Texas due to the ridiculous law.

The DCM prohibition is annoying but nothing like the sulfuric acid, peroxide and nitrate laws in the EU.
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[*] posted on 2-7-2023 at 01:04


Quote: Originally posted by sceptic  
I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I'm really surprised to learn that such treatment is legal.

What did they mean by "raw chemicals"?


If I used vinegar (dilute acetic acid) on my salad that would be OK but mixed with baking powder it's worth 24 mo in gaol.

Putting salt (NaCl) in my scrambled eggs would be OK but but running a modest current through a watery NaCl solution it's worth 24 mo in gaol.

Kafka, anyone?




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[*] posted on 2-7-2023 at 09:53


......my sincerest sympathy for your dealings with the draconian system........solo



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[*] posted on 2-7-2023 at 11:07


Quote: Originally posted by blogfast25  
The NaNO3 700 [m]g was 'count 2' of the indictment! Ludicrous beyond belief...
if they think 700 milligrams of nitrate is bad they ought to check how much there is in thatcher's grave. more yet to come, surely



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[*] posted on 2-7-2023 at 12:38


That's ridiculous. I experienced a similar ordeal; my home was searched and I got pinched after eBay automatically reported me for purchasing innocuous chemicals. This included charcoal as a red flagged item!

I wonder was it something similar with yourself as regards to Gmail? Did google automatically report you due to certain keywords being in your inbox or did they go to the trouble of obtaining a warrant to gain access to your email?
I know that sort of thing has happened before: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/22/google-cs...

Also, making you out to be some kind of extremist for having the gall to criticise Israel is appalling.




Kept you waiting, huh?

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