Two men travelled from London to blow up a BMW on a Bolton backstreet with a homemade grenade, a court heard.

Darren Holland, 54, and Tom Omona, 29, travelled to the north west and used two stolen cars as part of the enterprise, prosecutors allege.

They burnt the vehicles out afterwards to 'get rid of them.'

Mr Holland denies conspiracy to cause an explosion but admits arson for conspiring to set fire to cars.

Omona has already admitted conspiracy to cause an explosion and conspiracy to cause arson – to destroy motor vehicles by fire.

Details were laid out to jurors as Mr Holland's trial began today at Bolton Crown Court.

The BMW was parked on Back Castle Street in Bolton when it was targeted the court was told

Prosecutors said an improvised explosive device (IED) was thrown into a BMW X3 parked on Back Castle Street in The Haulgh, Bolton, on July 23 last year.

The woman who owned the car had parked behind her house the day before, the court was told.

She had been in her garden for most of the evening but brought her children inside from their play just after 8pm.

"This was a very fortunate move indeed," Vanessa Thomson, prosecuting, said.

At around 8:55pm a taxi driver parked up nearby saw a tall black man wearing black clothing with a hood over his head, later identified to be Omona, pick up a stone and try to smash the car's front driver's side window.

When he succeeded at the second attempt he threw a grenade inside.

Omona "ran away very quickly and the car exploded", the court was told.

The noise could be heard from neighbouring houses and the car's owner could see smoke and sparks from its roof as she ushered her children upstairs.

Bolton Crown Court

In a statement read in court, she said: "I can think of no reason why anyone would want to harm me or my property."

The fire service were called and, after it became clear there had been an explosion, the bomb disposal unit attended to ensure there were no secondary devices, but nothing was found.

The BMW, worth £12,000, was "destroyed", suffering "significant blast damage with shrapnel embedded in the interior". It was written off.

The improvised grenade was analysed by experts, who said it would have caused a flash of light, loud bang, and propelled shrapnel at high velocity. The court was told it would cause "significant damage to surrounding property".

"Persons in the immediate vicinity of the IED at the time of initiation would also have been at risk of serious injury", the prosecution added.

The court was told Mr Holland was the driver and had, earlier that day, driven himself and Omona up to Greater Manchester from London in a silver Renault Clio.

They first arrived in Rochdale around 6:30pm and met Luqman Hamid. He was not a conspirator but played a key role by providing them with two stolen cars, a white 13 plate Nissan Qashqai and a white 12 plate Mini which had cloned number plates.

Mr Holland visited two petrol stations and filled up both the Clio and a green jerry can, the court was told.

He later swapped the Clio for the Mini and drove to Torridon Road in Breightmet, Bolton, whilst Omona got a taxi from Rochdale to the same location, where the Qashqai had been left by Luqman the night before.

They then drove together in the Mini to Back Castle Street where the BMW was attacked, the court was told.

In the aftermath of the explosion, the Mini was driven back to Torridon Road, where it was deliberately set alight with accelerant at around 9:10pm. The fire service were called out to extinguish the blaze.

"It was clear there was a need to get rid of this vehicle due to its involvement in the explosion," Miss Thomson said.

The pair are said to have driven away in the Qahsqai. At around 10:20pm, Omona was seen on CCTV crawling under gates at Ras Motors in Rochdale and pouring petrol over five cars, with one seen to set on fire.

The Qashqai was then set alight on Alice Street in Rochdale. Omona was seen by witnesses holding a petrol can nearby before the car was seen on fire.

The pair are then said to have made off in a silver Clio and returned to the south.

A bystander took a picture of the registration plate which they handed to police, the court heard.

Mr Holland was identified when a picture of him was shown to a police officer in London who recognised him from previous incidents.

Omona, of Mary Close, Stanmore, London, was spotted and arrested when police raided the address of the registered keeper of the Clio.

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Hamid, of Yorkshire Street, Rochdale, has admitted to three counts of encouraging or assisting offences.

Mr Holland, of Grange Farm Close, Harrow, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause arson but denies being involved in the explosion conspirary.

However, the prosecution today said he was involved and played a "pivotal role."

"Each knew precisely what to do and what role to play when they arrived firstly in Rochdale and then in Bolton," Miss Thomson said.

"Whilst Omona was the person who threw the grenade into the BMW, Holland took him to the scene and was waiting at a very close distance to take him away from it before erasing all evidence of the waiting vehicle.

"There was no logical reason at all as to why Darren Holland would drive to Bolton alone whilst Omona took a taxi directly to the same place unless each knew there was a reason behind driving seperately.

"Mr Holland seems to have taken charge of providing the means to burn out vehicles by visiting petrol stations and filling up a petrol can.

"Clearly [he] was not put off by the frightening explosion that was heard by a number of neighbouring properties, as he not only set fire to the offending vehicle but continued to offend with Omona by committing further arson of vehicles belonging to others and of the vehicle they were using to commit crime.

"This demonstrates, the crown says, his knowledge and involvement in that explosion.

"The crown say Holland played an important and pivotal role in these offences."

The trial, expected to last around a week, continues.