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Motorcyclists That Buy Dry Batteries Face Prison

By Stephen Turvil | July 16, 2018


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Home Office warns motorcyclists they face prison if they obtain a dry battery without passing a background check

Motorcyclists That Buy Dry Batteries Face Prison

Explosives, Precursors and Poisons Licence explained

Motorcyclists that obtain a dry battery that has a separate acid pack must have an Explosives, Precursors and Poisons Licence from July 1st 2018 or face prison, The Home Office has warned. The purpose of this change is to ensure people that posses such batteries are unlikely to pose any risk to society (or themselves).

Riders, therefore, must pass due diligence checks to get a licence from the Home Office. Factors taken into consideration include criminal convictions such as murder, manslaughter and false imprisonment plus offences that relate to terrorism, explosives and chemical weapons. The full list is exhaustive. Mental health problems that can cause questionable behaviour are considered, too.

But why? A new dry battery incorporates a plastic, rectangular, case but not the sulphuric acid required to make it work. This nasty, corrosive, liquid is supplied in a separate container. The rider therefore pours the acid into the case, charges it via mains electricity and fits it to the bike. That is reasonable, of course.

However, the law change recognises that sulphuric acid has less legitimate purposes. It can be used by terrorists to create a wide range of explosives, for starters. Furthermore, its corrosive nature makes it popular among criminals that spray acid in the street to burn, frighten and physiologically cripple their victims.

Motorcyclists That Buy Dry Batteries Face Prison Image 0

The Explosives, Precursors and Poisons Licence minimises risk by restricting who can obtain acid. From July 1st 2018, riders therefore require it to acquire or import liquid that is 15% sulphuric acid or greater (weight by weight). In addition, from November 1st it is needed to even possess such liquids. Further note:

  • Licence is obtained online
  • Licence is £39.50
  • Licence is valid for up to 3 years
  • Licence is amended for free if your personal details change
  • Licence is not required to obtain pre-filled, wet, batteries

Penalties for breaking the law

The Home Office further confirmed that the penalties for breaking the law can be considerable. Perpetrators face up to 2 years imprisonment and/or a large fine, it said. Suppliers that sell such substances to those without the licence face the same consequences.

Dry batteries removed from sale

Halfords is a company that sells motorbike batteries and its attitude to the law change is likely consistent with many competitors. It, for example, has calculated that most customers will now buy pre-filled, wet, batteries rather than have the hassle, expense, and uncertainty of getting a licence. On this basis, it has stopped supplying dry motorbike batteries altogether.

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