Heroin abuser caught with bomb-making equipment at Falkirk hostel

Robert Long pictured leaving Falkirk Sheriff Court
Robert Long pictured leaving Falkirk Sheriff Court

A heroin abuser caught with equipment for a bomb factory in a hostel for the homeless has been freed.

Robert Long told police he had a “fascination” with firearms, after ammunition and equipment were found in his bedroom.

He said he liked to tinker with weapons and explosives while high on drugs. Long was caught after wardens at council-run Castings Hostel in Falkirk stumbled on his gear.

Prosecutor Ashley Smith told Falkirk Sheriff Court that Long (30), who resided at the hostel, had been arrested and taken into police custody “in relation to another matter” on January 19. Staff contacted police the next day after “items of concern” were found in his room during a routine check, including a shotgun cartridge that had been opened and re-filled with wax and ball-bearings, cartridges and metal cases.

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The items were then inspected by police and examined by a forensic scientist.

The court heard Long often searched online for information on making firearms and explosives.

Ms Smith said: “He indicated to officers he had a fascination with guns, but had no access to firearms capable of discharging the ammunition. He told officers specifically about how to make various items, including a pipe bomb. However, he said he had no intention of doing so.”

Long told police he knew he required a firearms certificate to possess such items, which he tended to make “when taking drugs”. The court heard £20 worth of heroin was also found in his room.

Last month Long pled guilty to possessing the modified shotgun cartridge without a firearms certificate, and possessing heroin.

Solicitor-advocate Stephen Biggam, defending, said social workers recommended Long was assessed for a drug treatment and testing order, to be carried out in the community.

Releasing him on bail after two months on remand, Sheriff Craig Caldwell ordered Long to reappear on April 18. The court heard he would be living in Claremont Street, Bonnybridge during the assessment period.