An award-winning Meden Vale giant vegetable grower who bulk bought pipes and fertiliser has described his astonishment after he was visited by police – to check whether he was making bombs.
John Handrahan-Cook, 47, has spent years growing massive celery, marrows and onions, which he has displayed at local shows.
He recently bought a 25kg sack of explosive calcium nitrate fertiliser from eBay – along with plastic tubes to grow giant carrots and parsnips inside.
But the eBay purchases between April and October – which also included more fertiliser, screws and plastic sheeting – were flagged to the police as potential terrorist materials.
A PC and PCSO made an unannounced visit and searched every room in his house.
Thankfully no further action was taken after John gave them a tour of his super-sized marrows and onions and told them about his village show certificates.
The delivery driver said: “They seemed quite satisfied when I gave them the tour of the veg’ patches and was able to prove I was growing giant veg’ and not making bombs.
“It’s a joke among the giant vegetable growing community that we might get a knock on the door from the boys in blue over the amount of fertiliser we buy.
“We joke that they would think we were making bombs – or growing cannabis.
“We always joke about getting visits, but this is the first time I’ve heard it happen.
“They thought I was making a pipe bomb I think.
“I found it highly amusing and I didn’t mind. I got to talk no end about my giant vegetables at the end of the day. ”
John has been growing his own vegetables since he was four-years-old, but got into growing super-sized giant vegetables around five years ago.
He has three allotment patches with a 20ft poly-tunnel and a grow tent, and two greenhouses in his garden where he is also building an onion house.
At the Langwith Show, Langwith in September, he won first place for his 70lb marrow and 29in runner beans, and second place for his onions.
He also entered his giant 19lb beetroot and 3lb potatoes into the more prestigious Malvern Show – but lost out on a prize to more experienced growers.
A spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Police said: “The occupier was very co-operative and we’d like to thank him for his understanding during this time as he allowed us to search the property and satisfy ourselves that there are currently no suspicious activities taking place there. The public would expect the police to do everything possible to prevent an attack.”