UK

Ricin charge: Mohammed Ammer Ali appears in court

Outside Westminster Magistrates' Court

A man charged with trying to buy 500g of ricin over the internet has appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Mohammed Ammer Ali, 31, of Prescot Road, Liverpool, is accused of trying to buy five vials of the deadly chemical over the dark web for £325.

Prosecutors say he tried to buy the vials in what is understood to have been an FBI sting and was sent them in a remote control car battery pack.

Mr Ali was remanded in custody and will appear at the Old Bailey on 13 March.

He is charged with attempting to have a chemical weapon in his possession between January 10 and February 12, contrary to the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 and the Chemical Weapons Act 1996.

Prosecutors say he tried to buy the chemical with Bitcoins - an electronic currency - worth $500.

No pleas were taken during the hearing in London, where Mr Ali spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.

The case comes after officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit and Merseyside Police searched five addresses in Merseyside on 11 February, and a number of items were seized.

Mr Ali was charged by officers on Monday.

A police spokesman said officers had not uncovered any plan or threat of an imminent attack, either at home or abroad.