Lincoln
October 9, 2020 11.53 am

Explosives and firearms charges for ex Lincoln PSCO

She didn’t enter pleas to the charges

A civilian Lincolnshire Police worker will appear at Lincoln Crown Court charged with seven offences including possessing an explosive substance and a disguised firearm.

Former PCSO Zoe Watts, 34, was arrested last Sunday afternoon after officers were called to her house in St Helens Avenue, Lincoln.

Lincolnshire Police said officers discovered a quantity of chemicals and a number of weapons.

Nearby residents were evacuated for a number of hours and a bomb disposal team was called out to carry out safety checks before the all clear was given just before 4pm.

It is understood that the bomb disposal squad were back at the property again on Friday, October 9.

Watts, who was a member of the Bracebridge Lowfields Community Police Team working in the south of Lincoln, has been suspended by the force pending the outcome of criminal proceedings and an investigation.

She was also a trade union activist serving as the equalities officer for the Lincolnshire Police UNISON.

Wearing a grey t-shirt and grey jogging bottoms Watts appeared by video link from custody at Lincoln Magistrates Court on Friday.

Watts, who has worked for Lincolnshire Police for nine years and had moved to a civilian role, spoke only to confirm her full name, date of birth and address.

The clerk then read out seven charges faced by Watts.

Lincolnshire Police only published six of these charges (with the exception 4-5/7)

They are:

  • On October 4, 2020 knowingly had in her possession or under her control an explosive substance, Contrary to Section 4 (1) of the Explosive Substance Act 1883
  • On October 4, 2020 had in her possession a firearm which was disguised as another object, Contrary to Section 5(1A) of the Firearms Act 1968
  • On October 4, 2020 had in her possession a firearm which was disguised as another object, Contrary to Section 5(1A) of the Firearms Act 1968
  • On October 4, 2020 had in her possession a weapon adapted for discharge of a noxious liquid, gas or other thing, Contrary to Section 5 (1) (b) of the Firearms Act 1968
  • On October 4, 2020 had in her possession a weapon adapted for discharge of a noxious liquid, gas or other thing, Contrary to Section 5 (1) (b) of the Firearms Act 1968
  • On September 5, 2020 imported a prohibited weapon, namely a butterfly knife, Contrary to Section 50 (1) and (3) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979
  • On September 5, 2020 imported a prohibited weapon, namely a butterfly knife, Contrary to Section 50 (1) and (3) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979

No pleas were entered and Deputy District Judge Nick Watson remanded Watts back in to custody after committing the case to Lincoln Crown Court where she will appear on November 9.

Police were carrying out more searches on St Helen’s Avenue. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

In a statement issued earlier this week Lincolnshire Police said: “Zoe Watts, 34, was arrested on Sunday and has subsequently been charged with one count of importing prohibited weapons with intent to evade a prohibition or restriction and one count of making an explosive substance for an unlawful purpose.

“Watts, who lives in St Helen’s Avenue, was remanded in custody to appear before Lincoln Magistrate. She is a serving member of staff at Lincolnshire Police and has been suspended while criminal proceedings and an investigation take place.

“Searches at the property in St Helen’s Avenue have been ongoing since Sunday and it is anticipated these will continue over the next couple of days. A number of weapons have been recovered along with chemicals of a potentially explosive nature.”

Lincolnshire’s Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson said: “We know that this is an unusual and worrying incident which will concern our communities.

“We within Lincolnshire Police share these feelings and although this relates to someone who works for the force, we will investigate this meticulously without fear or favour.

“Since the initial incident on Sunday our number one priority has been the safety of the public, and I’d like to thank local residents for their understanding while our searches at the property continue – it really is appreciated.

“Please be mindful that as a person has now been charged with offences, this is an active investigation which means that engaging in rumour and speculation – especially on any public platforms such as social media – can have a detrimental effect on any potential court proceedings.

“I fully understand that people will wish to be kept informed and we will continue to release as much detail as we can, as soon as we can.”

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