Female PCSO, 35, who ran survivalist YouTube channel is jailed for 27 months after she was found with homemade bomb and hoard of banned weapons including stun guns and butterfly knives
- Zoe Watts who worked for Lincolnshire Police had a ‘fascination’ with weapons
- Arrested in October when officers did a raid and found chemicals and weapons
- Nearby residents had to be evacuated as the bomb squad moved in
A former PCSO who ran a survivalist YouTube channel has been jailed for 27 months after she was found with a homemade bomb and a hoard of banned weapons.
Zoe Watts, 35, who worked for Lincolnshire Police for nine years, had a ‘fascination’ with weapons and made an improvised explosive device at her home.
Police carried out searches at the rubbish-strewn three-bedroom property in Lincoln, on October 4, leading to a number of weapons being recovered, including stun guns and an illegally-adapted electric fly-swatter.
Nearby residents had to be evacuated as the bomb squad moved in to secure the property and ensure there was no risk to surrounding homes.
Border Force officials intercepted packages addressed to her containing two butterfly knives last September, sparking concern about her activities.
Zoe Watts (pictured), 35, who worked for Lincolnshire Police for nine years, had a ‘fascination’ with weapons and made an improvised explosive device at her home
Police carried out searches at the rubbish-strewn three-bedroom property in Lincoln, on October 4, leading to a number of weapons being recovered, including stun guns and an illegally-adapted electric fly-swatter
Among the items recovered when police raided her semi-detached home was a mobile stun gun, a Taser, knives and chemicals.
Watts was suspended by the force following her arrest and was later charged with explosives and weapons offences.
She admitted making an improvised explosive device (IED) as her trial was due to start at the city’s crown court in May.
She had previously pleaded guilty to three charges of possession of a prohibited weapon and two counts of inappropriately importing goods, namely butterfly knives, after ordering them from a firm in The Netherlands.
Watts attended Wednesday’s hearing via a video-link to HMP Peterborough and was described in court as a hoarder with an interest in survivalism.
Pictured: A mobile phone that Zoe Watts converted into a stun gun
Pictured is a still image from one of Zoe Watts’s ‘survivalist’ videos where she told viewers how to create weapons out of other items
Andy Peet, prosecuting, told the court some of the substances found at Watts’ home were inherently dangerous, but conceded the offences did not have a ‘sinister background’.
She was sentenced yesterday after pleading guilty to six weapons-related offences including making an IED at an earlier appearance at Lincoln Crown Court.
Watts ran a YouTube channel called Survival Mistakes which offered advice on how to respond to a global apocalypse.
Among the videos she uploaded to the site was one showing how to turn a baseball bat into a deadly weapon by studding it with nails.
In another, she used a baseball bat covered in glass to smash watermelons bearing images of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.
She also offered tips on how to make long-burning ‘tampon fire rockets’ by soaking them in wax and paraffin.
Her videos, which have been viewed thousands of times, have been available online for more than four years.
In another video, she used a baseball bat covered in glass to smash watermelons bearing images of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson
Counter Terrorism officers investigated the possibility that the offences might be terror-related, but it was later accepted she had purchased them for use in her videos.
Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson of Lincolnshire Police said: ‘This has been a difficult case involving a staff member at Lincolnshire Police, who has now been held accountable for her actions.
‘We expect our officers and staff to uphold the law and always maintain high standards.
Watts (pictured outside Lincoln Crown Court) ran a YouTube channel called Survival Mistakes which offered advice on how to respond to a global apocalypse
‘Clearly in this case that has not happened, and I’d like to reassure members of the public that we have engaged in a robust process to investigate these crimes.
‘While these incidents are very rare, it is absolutely right that we prosecute where appropriate and I’d like to pay tribute to those who carried out a thorough investigation which has resulted in today’s sentencing.
‘Although there was no evidence to suggest that Zoe Watts planned to use any of the weapons that she had bought, it’s entirely understandable that our communities would have be concerned by this.
‘I thank them again for their patience and understanding while we carried out our investigation.’
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