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Hoax bomb alerts: man appears in court

A man has appeared in court accused of making hoax bomb warnings and threatening to kill PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott.

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

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 in the city, faces four counts of communicating 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 High Court, and Derry Courthouse.

Rankin is also charged with eight counts of threats to kill, one of those being Mr Baggott. Another of the charges relates to allegations that he threatened to kill staff at U105 radio station.

No details were disclosed during his brief appearance at Belfast Magistrates Court. Police successfully applied to have Rankin released from custody for three days to be interviewed in connection with other matters.

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