A teenager has been jailed for more than four years after causing an explosion in toilets at a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Blackheath in May.

The 16-year-old, who can’t be named for legal reasons, researched how to make an explosive device on the internet and ignited it in the store’s male toilets around midday on Saturday 27 May.

As smoke billowed from the building, the teen ran as customers and staff were evacuated. Police, including armed response officers, and the fire service rushed to the scene and the boy was apprehended nearby in possession of two knives.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court on Friday (01/09) he was sentenced to four years and four months in a youth detention centre after pleading guilty to making an explosive substance for an unlawful purpose, causing an explosion with intent to endanger life and possession of a knife in a public place.

Detective Constable Antony Hammerton said: “The lad has never explained why he caused so much damage and disruption to shoppers, retailers and the emergency services, other than to say he was not motivated by any religious or racial reasons.

“He now faces a substantial custodial sentence at such a young age, where I hope he will get some much needed rehabilitation and on-going support.”

No-one was hurt in the incident, but roads were closed for a considerable time, while forensic searches were made to ensure the area was safe.