Law enforcement authorities discovered a large cache, containing kilograms of ammunition and explosives from World War II, at a man’s home in Etten-Leur, the Netherlands. Investigators do not know the source or the method how the suspect acquired the illegal items.
It is certain that the number of grenades, including frag, phosphorous (smoke) and other hand grenades, was too much for the 30-year-old man to legally keep at his house, but investigators also found other types of explosives, such as artillery shells. According to the experts, one exploding grenade can be enough for a fatal accident due to the number of the explosives kept in the house.
Phosphorus grenades are used to create a smoke field. However, police officers say that the inhalation of the smoke can be bad for health. An artillery shell is used to blow up an armored vehicle or building. That is the reason why it is illegal to keep such explosives at the home of individuals in the Netherlands. Exemptions, if any are provided, apply for small caliber ammunition up to 20 millimeters.
To collect shells, weapons, and ammunition, the citizens of the Netherlands must comply with strict rules regarding the storage of those. It must be done in special cabinets in enclosed fireproof spaces. Not in a shed or terraced house, like in the case of the 30-year-old man.
It remains a question where, and from whom, the man bought the ammunition and explosives. According to a regional specialist, it is almost impossible to buy sharp grenades or any kinds of illegal weaponry from Dutch collection markets, since the rules are very strict there. The specialist added that the laws of the country do not allow people to visit former battlefields with a metal detector searching for weapons, ammunition, or explosives. However, according to the expert, it is much easier to acquire firearms banned in the Netherlands from the dark web.
According to the police, in Central and West Brabant once or twice a year, law enforcement authorities find a stock of arms and/or ammunition at a private individual with amounts above the legal limit. Therefore, the police check once a year whether the license complies with the conditions. Whether the police check in Etten-Leur took place by “the book”, is not clear.
According to the police, when they found the 30-year-old man, he was in an ill condition. So sick, they considered it as an “irresponsible” action to put the man in a cell. Therefore, the suspect was not taken into police custody. The prosecution is currently waiting for the police investigation to finish, along with reports on the health of the 30-year-old, to charge the suspect. Police spokesman Martine Pilaar said that despite the man’s conditions, law enforcement authorities have to get answers to the exact amount and type of the explosives and ammunition, how long the man kept them at his home, and the potential dangers.