ARCHIV - 09.09.2014, Bayern, Bamberg: 09.09.2014, Bayern, Bamberg: Eine Statue der Justitia hält eine Waage in ihrer Hand. Richter in Deutschland müssen nach Ansicht der EU-Kommission besser bezahlt werden. Die Brüsseler Behörde verweist in einer am Mittwoch in Luxemburg vorgestellten Untersuchung zum Zustand des Rechtsstaats auf Herausforderungen bei der Einstellung von Richtern. Foto: David-Wolfgang Ebener/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

An explosives hobbyist who manufactured explosive substances and bunkered them in a hole in the ground by a canal in Berlin has been sentenced to one year and two months in prison. The District Court of Berlin-Tiergarten found the 37-year-old guilty of violating the Explosives Act on Wednesday. He was also sentenced to six months in prison for attempted theft.

The accused wanted to break into a police building and steal a bicycle, according to the verdict. Because of his criminal record, a suspended sentence is no longer an option.

According to the indictment, the man had produced around one kilogram of synthetic explosives in his apartment from 2016. He initially kept the substances in the freezer of a refrigerator, then gradually brought them to an earth bunker on Friedrich-Krause-Ufer in Berlin-Tiergarten from 2020 onwards.

The hole in the ground was dug by a walker’s dog in April 2020. Special forces were then involved in the rescue.

Intensive investigations led to the identification of the now 37-year-old from the Pankow district around three weeks after the find. There was no evidence of political motivation, it said at the time. The suspect admitted to the production and storage of the non-detonable explosive packages in this form.

During the trial, the defendant explained that he wanted to test whether he would be able to produce such drugs. Gradually, he procured accessories and the corresponding substances, said the man who had been unemployed and addicted to drugs for years. “I wanted to see how the fabrics work.”

He did “small experiments” in the forest and “never wanted to blow up anything bigger”. “After testing how it worked, I lost interest.” He thought the hole in the ground was a safe hiding place.