A MAN has appeared before Blackburn magistrates after a fake bomb was left next to public benches in King William Street.

The court was told the device was found under a public bench and police established a cordon before the device was eventually declared safe by the bomb squad.

Craig Slee, 49, of Logwood Street, Blackburn, was charged that on May 3 he placed an article, a laptop connected to a mobile phone with an electric cigarette and a water bottle with a lighter inserted inside, at the public benches of King William Street with the intention of inducing another to believe that the said article was likely to explode or ignite and thereby cause personal injury or damage to property.

Slee, who did not indicate a plea to the charge, was sent on bail to Preston Crown Court where he will appear on October 21.

Conditions of bail are residence and not to enter Blackburn town centre.