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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 4-7-2023 at 13:03


Quote: Originally posted by Big Boss  
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.


Where are you based, Big Boss?

Connecting one's political views with a common law trial may actually be illegal...

[Edited on 4-7-2023 by blogfast25]




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Big Boss
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[*] posted on 5-7-2023 at 07:35


Quote: Originally posted by blogfast25  

sic

Northern Ireland
Also, my ordeal had nothing to do with politics. I was referring to your initial post.




Kept you waiting, huh?

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The Volatile Chemist
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[*] posted on 5-7-2023 at 10:14


Blogfast, sorry to hear about what happened to you. I remember when you’d previously gone through some trouble and posted about it.

You’re welcome to come pursue your hobby in the states. We have better food here too…not better beer though.




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Admagistr
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[*] posted on 5-7-2023 at 11:55


Quote: Originally posted by The Volatile Chemist  
Blogfast, sorry to hear about what happened to you. I remember when you’d previously gone through some trouble and posted about it.

You’re welcome to come pursue your hobby in the states. We have better food here too…not better beer though.


They say that the best beer is in the Czech Republic;)!
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[*] posted on 5-7-2023 at 13:21


Quote: Originally posted by The Volatile Chemist  
Blogfast, sorry to hear about what happened to you. I remember when you’d previously gone through some trouble and posted about it.

You’re welcome to come pursue your hobby in the states. We have better food here too…not better beer though.


Better for doing chemistry with, maybe :p
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[*] posted on 5-7-2023 at 15:17


In the Czech Republic the situation is good, except for various bans from the European Union on the sale of chemicals to individuals.But I do not know of any case of bullying of a home chemist, my friend even goes to schools and kindergartens to show children chemical experiments and has great success, the kindergartens even pay him for it and order his chemical show... In our country we deal with cases where someone is cooking drugs,it is meth,unfortunately the production of meth has a long tradition in our country.That is why anyone who is looking for iodine or phosphorus is immediately in the crosshairs of the Police.And these elements are usually no longer found in the range of chemicals for individuals,but otherwise it is fortunately quite good. ..There have been only a few terrorist attacks in our country and they were not committed by Islamists.In our country people are panic-stricken about Muslims and therefore they are against the migration of these people,they do not tolerate them.Our society is unfortunately quite atheistic,most of all in Europe...
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blogfast25
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[*] posted on 6-7-2023 at 09:32


Quote: Originally posted by Big Boss  

Northern Ireland
Also, my ordeal had nothing to do with politics. I was referring to your initial post.


OK, so UK too.




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[*] posted on 6-7-2023 at 14:39


I'm glad that at least they did not enjoin you from posting/participating here. I am sure that the Home Office people (or whatever ministry does that stuff, mi-5 maybe?) are reading all this. Hi Fellas (arkoma waves).



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blogfast25
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[*] posted on 9-7-2023 at 12:19


Quote: Originally posted by arkoma  
I'm glad that at least they did not enjoin you from posting/participating here. I am sure that the Home Office people (or whatever ministry does that stuff, mi-5 maybe?) are reading all this. Hi Fellas (arkoma waves).


!00 % certain.




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[*] posted on 18-7-2023 at 07:34


I had a similar experience back in October 2020, but it ended quite different to yours blogfast25. I posted this at the time:


Each year, I make a few little fireworks (catherine wheels, fountains, sparklers etc) for a family Nov 5th party. This year, even though Covid has cancelled it, I thought would still be a useful opportunity to do some testing. So come October the 1st I'm in the garage again, working away.
This is the 4th year I have done it. Everything I make is relatively small and not particularly powerful. To be honest, I just like the pretty colours and effects, but I do still need to test the odd thing now and again during preparation.

So the garage - my 'workshop' - is in full firework flow. There's chems everywhere (all in their respective container and correctly labelled I might add), tubes, sieves, a ball mill and a jar half full labelled 'Granulated BP'. I also have dowel tooling, epoxy resin, paper towels, cat litter etc, and of course a mortar and pestle. It's basically a bit of a mess. And I leave it like that each night after I finish whatever I'm doing. Yes, I'm an undisciplined chemist.
The reagents I use are all as you would expect - nitrates of barium, potassium, strontium etc. Ammonium perc, metal powders, MgAl etc, hexamine, sulphur, Ti sponge, red gum...all the usual suspects. And no more than about 1Kg of any one reagent, and sometimes only 50g or so.


Then this happened. Today.

I'm at work, it's 09:30 and I get an email from my wife simply saying 'Police are here!!'. Naturally, I shit myself and rush home. Sure enough, there's a police van outside the house and two PCs greet me as I go inside. They inform me that they are acting on a complaint and the sergeant is already searching the garage. I politely enquire as to whether they have a warrant, they say 'no but my wife has given consent to search the premises'.

I don't think I've ever shit myself twice in the same day before, let alone the same morning, so that was a new experience.

Anyway, I ask to go into the garage and explain what is in there etc, but the copper says no, best not, just leave them to it. They're all wearing body cams too so everything I say was being recorded. I kept it civil and polite, but under the surface I was really annoyed that one of our neighbours must have grassed me up. And also very nervous indeed that I had misjudged the law and was about to get arrested for terrorism offences.

So I, my wife and one of the PCs sit in the kitchen while the sergeant searches the garage and the other PC searches around in the house. During this time I try to be helpful and ask if they would like the main garage door open (in addition to the side door) and I also point out that they might like to inspect my 'lab' notebook that is in there.

10 or 15 minutes pass and I hear the sergeant outside on the phone to someone, but I couldn't quite make out what was being said. Then the PC goes out too, has a brief conversation then they both come back in. The sergeant explains he has called higher up, to some counter terrorism unit where they presumably have some more specialist knowledge, and explained to them what he has found in the garage.

...and they had replied that it was all legal, no offence had been committed.

I tell you, I don't know what the opposite of shitting oneself is, but whatever it is I did it.

The police then filled out the relevant forms, gave us a copy and left.

So my take from this is that in the UK at least, 'hobby' pyro is legal. Or at least not so illegal that they care.
(Or maybe it's not an issue if you're a middle class, middle aged white male, as I am).

No items were seized, no cautions issued and no arrests made. I was told that if I were to sell any items I made then that would be illegal, but otherwise no problems.

I did have all my reagents labelled and also, and maybe it was this that saved me, I had a notebook from the last few years detailing all my work. What I had mixed, how I had used it and what the effect was. Then there were further notes detailing possible improvements and at the end of each year (I only do this once a year remember) a list of all the things I had learned that year.
Formulae, diagrams, notes...basically Aim, Method, Apparatus and Results. All there, like a proper scientist.


I do hope I don't get visited again though, my wife wasn't overly impressed with the whole experience. But they clearly have a dark sense of humour where she works - by lunchtime someone had printed out a picture of Osama bin Laden and taped it above her office door.




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[*] posted on 18-7-2023 at 08:16


Quote: Originally posted by AngelEyes  
I tell you, I don't know what the opposite of shitting oneself is, but whatever it is I did it.


CatBackwards.jpg - 136kB




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 19-7-2023 at 09:11


Angel, it might not be a bad idea to have that visit documented in some way in case god forbid they come knocking again. I know I wished I had a prior friendly visit documented in some way when ~8 or so cars and 2 ATO vehicles(bomb disposal) landed at mine with a warrant.

It was decided I wouldn't be charged with anything after a year on bail bricking it, my solicitor reckoned that would be the outcome because it wouldn't be in the public interest to prosecute me.
I was arrested with possession of explosives under suspicious circumstances due to possessing ~500g of KClO3 and 10g or so of a chlorate sugar mix I was mucking about with attempting to make fuse for one of those mini cannons.

In the interview I mentioned that I wouldn't consider the chlorate sugar mix to be an explosive and it was insinuated that it was an explosive albeit a low order one.

There was one particularly ignorant cop who insisted that what I was doing was dangerous and became even more irritated at me when I told him I know my limits but accept the risk that comes with the hobby, some were just poking questions fishing for info and others thought the situation was a whole joke.

The police completely handed over the responsibility of inquiring about what specific chemicals I possessed and what my intentions were with them to the ATO. I've got to say the army guy who was tasked with talking to me was really nice, he was the first to point out the likes of crushed eggshells as a source of calcium carbonate and copper sulfate. Probably a breath of fresh air after dealing with viable devices made by people looking to bring us back into the past. He told me directly he considered me a hobbyist and I was within earshot when he relayed that to the police. He even laughed and said his Israeli girlfriend would get a laugh out of a joke I made when he asked me if there was anything in my attic and I replied saying nothing but Anne Frank up there...

They said they couldn't take any chemicals left in my garage but recommended destroying them. They lifted the chlorate, the chlorate/sugar mix, the chlorate cell and the mini cannon. Odd seeing as I had a 1kg tub of potassium nitrate as well which didn't seem to bother ATO man whereas the chlorate did. It also requires a license to possess in Northern Ireland.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/marketing-and-use-of-explosives-...

If there's anything I'd like to highlight again it's that UK Police can obtain a search warrant based on keywords in your eBay purchase history alone . In my case it was potassium permanganate, charcoal powder, hydroponics fertiliser, toluene...
It's a shame I can't find the ebay community thread now, but there was a thread up where a policeman suffered the same fate and had a search warrant executed against him after being automatically reported because of those red flagged keywords.




Kept you waiting, huh?

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[*] posted on 20-7-2023 at 06:26


Quote: Originally posted by DraconicAcid  
Quote: Originally posted by AngelEyes  
I tell you, I don't know what the opposite of shitting oneself is, but whatever it is I did it.


Firstly, upvote to Draconic for the Dwarf reference. Thanksi veryski muchski budski!

Second, Big Boss, we did keep the yellow 'receipt' the police give you after a search. Not sure where it is now, but I think the wife knows. We have also moved house since then and the new neighbours are actually decent people.

But in theory, if it were legal then it's still legal now. I guess.

Cheers

Angel.




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blogfast25
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[*] posted on 20-7-2023 at 13:34


Quote: Originally posted by Big Boss  

I was arrested with possession of explosives under suspicious circumstances due to possessing ~500g of KClO3 and 10g or so of a chlorate sugar mix I was mucking about with attempting to make fuse for one of those mini cannons.



Well, you were very lucky. KClO3 is a regulated substance, like NaNO3. 700 g of the latter landed me 18 months! [suspended]. I believe thas is the minimum term for that kind of sustances.




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[*] posted on 20-7-2023 at 13:43


Quote: Originally posted by AngelEyes  
I Everything I make is relatively small and not particularly powerful. To be honest, I just like the pretty colours and effects, but I do still need to test the odd thing now and again during preparation.

[...]

The reagents I use are all as you would expect - nitrates of barium, potassium, strontium etc. Ammonium perc, metal powders, MgAl etc, hexamine, sulphur, Ti sponge, red gum...all the usual suspects. And no more than about 1Kg of any one reagent, and sometimes only 50g or so.




As far as I know the quantities/size has no bearfing on this: possess these nitrates or don't, that's what determines legality.

You too were lucky, I'd say!




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[*] posted on 20-7-2023 at 15:56


Quote: Originally posted by arkoma  
[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]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dihydrogen_monoxide_parody

no need to wonder!
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[*] posted on 8-10-2023 at 04:23


https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-humber-67033545

"Bridlington man Gert Meyers jailed again for keeping dangerous chemicals"

Yikes.




As below, so above.

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