Derry man James McAuley in court over beans bomb alert

A 25-year-old man has appeared in court charged with causing a bomb hoax in Londonderry using tins of beans.

James McAuley, from Kavanagh Court, admitted taping two tins of beans together and throwing them at his uncle's house in Hazelbank.

About 20 homes were evacuated during the alert which happened at about 0515 BST on Thursday.

Mr McAuley told police he was sorry and said he did it after a night out. He was released on bail.

A detective told Londonderry Magistrate's Court that the tins of beans were taped together and had a watch and wire attached to them.

Upset

Mr McAuley told police he went to his uncle's house after drinking alcohol, threw the device inside and said 'tick-tock'.

Army bomb disposal experts were deployed to the scene but the suspicious object was declared a hoax before they arrived.

During police interview, Mr McAuley described his actions as a 'joke' and said it involved a family dispute.

District judge Barney McElholm said the alert caused "worry, upset and disruption to the community and cost enormous sums of money".

But he accepted the accused was not a member of a sinister organisation.

Mr McAuley was ordered to wear an electronic tag. He is due to appear in court again on 30 June.