Chemical alert Suffolk man jailed over blackmail threat

A 21-year-old man has been jailed after pleading guilty to blackmailing a family in Suffolk.

Adam Ladd, of Plovers Way, Bury St Edmunds, set fire to a car and wheelie bin in Nowton after demanding £5,000 from the family.

Ipswich Crown Court heard he was arrested in October and bomb disposal officers were later called in after police found chemicals at his home.

The chemicals were found to have been used in the fires.

The court was told Ladd had blackmailed the family between 26 September and 6 October, although no money was ever handed over.

He had told the family to give him £5,000 "within a week or face the consequences", the court heard.

Godfried Duah, prosecuting, said he was arrested after being seen acting suspiciously near the house.

His defence lawyer, Robert O'Sullivan, said Ladd had told the family to leave the money on their front doorstep, adding that it was not "the most sophisticated demand for blackmail".

Jailing Ladd for 18 months, Judge Peter Thompson said "no real explanation" had been put forward for the "bizarre behaviour".

"In this case there's no question that the family were put in real fear," he said.

The court heard Ladd also used chemicals found at his house to make firework "rockets".

Neighbours of Ladd were told to stay indoors immediately after his arrest as bomb disposal officers were called in as a precaution and a cordon set up.

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