Accused of making hoax bomb warnings

A man appeared in court yesterday accused of a series of hoax bomb warnings and threatening to kill Chief Constable Matt Baggott.

Stuart Rankin allegedly made bogus claims that devices had been left at a PSNI station and courthouses in Belfast and Derry.

He is also accused of issuing a warning that further explosives were at the Castlecourt shopping complex in central Belfast.

Rankin, 24, of Glencairn Crescent, Belfast faces four counts of communication false information to cause belief of an explosion.

All of the alleged offences occurred during July and August this year.

He is accused of phoning a local newsroom to make claims about Strandtown PSNI station in east Belfast, the Northern Ireland High Court, and Derry Courthouse.

Rankin is further charged with eight counts of threats to kill.

One of those he is accused of threatening is Mr Baggott.

Another of the charges relates to allegations that he threatened to kill staff at the U105 radio station.

No details of the case against him were disclosed during his brief appearance at Belfast Magisrates’ Court.

Police successfully applied to have Rankin released from custody for three days to be interviewed in connection with other matters.