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Man to stand trial charged with sending suspicious package to vaccine factory

Ben Mitchell, PA
·1-min read

A 53-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to sending a suspicious package to a coronavirus vaccine production site.

Anthony Collins entered his plea to the charge of dispatching an article by post with the intention of inducing the belief it was likely to explode or ignite during a hearing held at Maidstone Crown Court.

All staff had to be evacuated from the Wockhardt site in Wrexham, North Wales, on January 27 as the package was investigated.

Suspect package at Wockhardt
Police officers outside the Wockhardt pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, a production plant for the coronavirus vaccine, on Wrexham Industrial Estate, North Wales (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mr Collins, of Chatham, Kent, appeared by video link from Elmley Prison wearing a mask for the short hearing.

Judge Stephen Thomas adjourned the case for trial to be held on August 31 with a pre-trial review on August 13, and remanded Mr Collins in custody until then.

He told the defendant: “You should attend your court hearings either over the link or at court, as ordered by the court. That is in your interest and failure to attend may in itself be an offence.”

Production ground to a halt at the Wrexham site as the item, which police said was not a viable device, was investigated.

Wockhardt, a global pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, provides fill-and-finish services for the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine – the final stage of putting the vaccine into vials.