A MAN who was being released from police inquiries recovered a firework from his property and set it off in the police station custody suite.

Blackburn magistrates watched CCTV footage of the incident which showed officers taking cover as a huge bang echoed around the room.

Officers made statements saying their ears were left ringing for over an hour and one said his heart rate was noticeably raised as a result of the blast.

Sean Michael Cook, 45, of Williams Road, Burnley, pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting police officers and one of violent behaviour in a police station, which was brought under the Town and Police Clauses Act of 1847.

He was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and was ordered to pay £100 compensation to two officers, £115 victim surcharge and £40 costs.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Cook had been taken to Greenbank police station in Blackburn for inquiries and was in the process of being released. He had been handed his property and an officer was completing some paperwork.

"He bent down out of site of the officer and seconds later there was a bright flash and what one of the officers described as the loudest explosion he had ever heard," said Miss Allan. "His actions put people in fear of their lives. The officers couldn't believe he would behave in that way when he was being released."

The CCTV footage showed officers climbing over the custody desk and others rushing into the suite before handcuffing Cook.

Mark Williams, defending, said his client was having difficulty explaining what he had done.

"At the time he thought it might be something of a prank but clearly it was more serious than that," said Mr Williams. "He hadn't thought it through and hadn't thought what kind of reaction it would get."

Mr Williams said the banger was in the property that was being handed back to Cook.

"The bang was loud, partly because it was in an enclosed space, and the reaction from the officers was fear because they had no idea what had happened," said Mr Williams. "My client thought they would say what are you doing, get on your way. The last thing he wanted, when he was about to go home, was to spend another night in the cells."