Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire explosions: Seven face further charges

Dandillion Avenue, Cheadle
Image caption A house on Dandillion Avenue in Cheadle sustained minimal damage in August

Seven men charged with conspiracy to blackmail after a series of explosions in Staffordshire have been charged with further offences.

Three houses in Blythe Bridge, Cheadle and Weston Coyney sustained minimal damage in the explosions on 3 August.

The men have now been charged with conspiracy to cause explosions of a nature likely to endanger life, police said.

They have also been charged with conspiracy to make threats to kill.

Jason Taft, 41, of Greenfields Farm, Stoke-on-Trent, Thomas Richard Lesley, 55, his son Thomas Lesley, 34, both from Belfast, and Andrew Boal, 32, from Ballygowan, Newtonards, County Down, were previously charged with conspiracy to blackmail and have been remanded in custody.

Edvinas Sermuksnis, 30, also from Belfast, 43-year-old Kevin Proctor from Stoke-on-Trent and Martin Drewery, 42, from the Staffordshire Moorlands, were previously charged with conspiracy to blackmail and bailed, police said.

All seven are due to appear at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Friday.

A police spokesman said they would stand trial for the original charges in April along with three other men who have been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

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