Man ‘obsessed’ with Covid set off bomb threat at vaccine factory

A man “obsessed” with Covid-19 has been found guilty of triggering a bomb threat by sending a suspicious package to a vaccine factory.

Anthony Collins was convicted of sending an article in the mail with the intention of making it appear likely to explode or ignite following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

The 54-year-old from Chatham, Kent, sent the package to the Wrexham factory in January, causing production of the Oxford / AstraZeneca jab to stop at the premises and the evacuation of 120 people.

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The article contained a calculator, a garden glove, four batteries, a “yellow biohazard bar,” a serving wipe and a quantity of paper, the jury was told.

It was only after the army’s bomb disposal experts set up a 100-meter cordon and detonated the device that they could be sure it did not contain any explosive material.

Wockhardt, a global pharmaceutical and biotech company, was providing filling and finishing services for the Oxford / AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine – the final step in the vaccine’s bottling.

The court heard that Collins had also sent similar packages to 10 Downing Street and a laboratory in Wuhan, China and to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.

Prosecutor Alan Gardner said: ‘Mr Collins briefly told police that his intention to send the package to Wockhardt was to help scientists and the government deal with Covid-19.

“The prosecution says it appears that Mr. Collins has, for whatever reason, developed a certain degree of obsession with issues with the Covid virus and associated vaccines.”

Collins will be sentenced on November 24 and is out on bail until then.

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