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Sunday 18 February 2018

Bomb components like those used in London attack 'frequently bought together' on Amazon

Amazon shoppers are being offered the chance to buy bomb-making components while innocently purchasing other items, an investigation has revealed. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Amazon shoppers are being offered the chance to buy bomb-making components while innocently purchasing other items, an investigation has revealed. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Peter Cary

Amazon shoppers are being offered the chance to buy bomb-making components while innocently purchasing other items, an investigation has revealed.

Channel 4 News showed that an algorithm used by the retail giant suggested purchasing chemical ingredients which are harmless on their own, but can be combined to make explosives, incendiary devices and pyrotechnics.

The programme said recipes for explosive black powder and thermite are grouped together under the "Frequently Bought Together" heading during searches for other common chemicals, while steel ball bearings, often used as bomb shrapnel, are also recommended in the "Customers Also Bought" tab.

The news service demonstrated ignition systems and remote detonators were also readily available, and were frequently offered as part of the "Customers Also Bought" suggestions.

Channel 4 investigators were able to show that it was possible to create an Amazon shopping basket of up to 45kg of ingredients needed to create explosive black powder, against legislation that allows an individual to create just 100g of the substance for private use.

Other items included push-button switches, igniter cord, battery connectors and cables - all of which can be used in the construction of bombs.

While many of the ingredients, including one commonly used for food production, are not illegal to buy or sell in the UK, the news programme said there had been successful prosecutions of people who bought multiple chemicals and electronic components necessary for the production of explosives.

The revelation came three days after commuters were injured when an explosive device was detonated on a packed London Underground train at Parsons Green, south west London.

Press Association

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