Published: 15:21, 26 February 2021
| Updated: 19:40, 26 February 2021
A 53-year-old man has appeared at a virtual court to deny sending a package to a Covid vaccine factory, which forced the plant to be evacuated.
Anthony John Collins, from Chatham, is accused under a 1977 Act of despatching the package intending the receiver to believe it might explode or burst into flames.
The device was received at the Wrexham facility in January, used by Wockhardt, a supplier of AstraZeneca.
Collins, of Chatham Hill, spoke to confirm his name and enter a not guilty plea to the charge during the 20-minute hearing.
He appeared in a blue sweater and was then remanded into custody.
He appeared by video link and the hearing was conducted remotely by Judge Stephen Thomas, who gave him a number of legal rulings regarding his trial.
The judge ruled that the four-day trial will now be heard at Maidstone Crown Court on August 31.
Army bomb disposal teams were called to the factory, which fills doses of the vaccine into vials before it is distributed.
Soldiers from the Royal Logistics Corps were brought in by North Wales Police to examine the package in January before sending it off for analysis.
Production was suspended at the site used by Wockhardt, a supply partner of AstraZeneca, after the package was discovered.
Collins was arrested by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate during raids in Chatham Hill and Luton Road.
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