A FORMER British National Party member has been accused of possessing the largest amount of chemical explosives of its type ever found in the country.

Robert Cottage, 49, of Talbot Street, Colne, appeared before Burnley magistrates charged with possession of an explosive substance.

Cottage was charged under the Explosives Substances Act 1883 on Monday night after forensic experts searched his home, allegedly discovering chemical components which could be used to make explosives.

Police sealed off Cottage's home last Thursday and finished their search at the weekend.

Officers claim that their find is the largest haul of chemicals of its kind discovered in someone's home in the country.

However, the exact nature of the chemicals has not been revealed.

David Leach, representing Cottage made no application for bail.

Magistrates remanded Cottage in custody and referred his case to Burnley Crown Court where he is due to appear later this month.

Cottage, a sub-contracted driver for Lancashire County Council, stood for the BNP in the May elections in the Vivary Bridge ward of Colne.

l Police were yesterday searching a house in Trent Road, Nelson, where a 62-year-old-man was arrested in connection with the investigation.

He was last night being quizzed by detectives.