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OFFBEAT

Driver ‘didn’t know grenades were illegal’

Dortmund police found two Bundeswehr practice hand-grenades Wednesday night in the car of a 30-year-old man who had been driving around with the explosives in his possession for several years.

Driver 'didn't know grenades were illegal'
A real grenade. Photo: US Air Force/Wikimedia Commons

The man told police he had originally planned to detonate the practice grenades – which are used by Bundeswehr soldiers in training exercises – on a New Year’s Eve, when Germans traditionally embark on an orgy of fireworks lighting.

He was pulled over for a traffic check in the North Rhine-Westphalia city and aroused police officers’ suspicion that he had taken drugs. During a search of the car, the police found a rucksack containing drugs and one of the grenades. They found the second explosive in the pocket of one of the car’s doors.

The police alerted a bomb disposal expert as the grenades – which contain a smaller amount of explosives than normal grenades – could have caused serious injury if wrongly handed. Possession of such explosives is illegal outside of the Bundeswehr.

The 30-year-old claimed not to know this. He got the grenades several years ago, he said, from a member of the Bundeswehr personnel, whose name he did not know. Having not got around to detonating them on New Year’s Eve as planned, he had instead driven around for several years with the explosives in his car.

He was charged with weapons and drug offences as well as receiving stolen property.

DAPD/The Local/dw

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CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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