Men to be tried over explosions
AS many as 10 people could face trial for conspiracy to blackmail following a series of explosions at three North Staffordshire addresses.
Five men charged with the offence appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday, following the explosions in Weston Coyney, Blythe Bridge and Cheadle, in August.
They were Andrew Boal, aged 32, of Ballygowan, Newtonards; Edvinas Sermutenes, aged 30, of Belfast; Jason Taft, aged 40, of Bagnall, Thomas Leslie, aged 54, of County Down, and Thomas Leslie, aged 34, also of County Down.
All five were remanded in custody until December 19.
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On Monday, Kevin Proctor, aged 43, of The Greenways, Milton, who faces the same charge, was granted bail.
Prosecutor Robert Price told the court it was a complex investigation which could involve a total of seven defendants or 10. He said it is possible defendants could be charged with conspiracy to cause explosions, and added: "Matters are being considered at the Attorney General's office. We await a decision in relation to that charge."