A MAN has appeared in court accused of making threats to kill and having an illegal stash of weapons and explosives.

Simon Flint, who gave his address as Meadowfield Drive, Eaglescliffe, but has lived in a campervan for a number of years, was charged with eight offences following a police operation in Bishop Auckland on Friday.

Clare Irving, prosecuting, told magistrates, sitting at Newton Aycliffe, that police were called by a man who said he had a loaded crossbow pointed at him after a confrontation about a verbal altercation he witnessed between a man and a group of children near Bishop Auckland Rugby Club at around 3.15pm on Friday.

The alleged victim left the scene and passed a description of a campervan to police.

A vehicle was subsequently stopped on the A689 and a large amount of weaponry items recovered.

Mr Flint, 42, this morning went before magistrates in Newton Aycliffe charged with making threats to kill, possession of an explosive substance, two charges of possession of offensive weapons, possession of a weapon for the discharge of pepper spray, two charges of possession of a bladed article in public and a public order offence.

Among the items listed in the charges were three crossbows, a friction locking baton, lock knives and swords including one measuring 2ft long.

The precision engineer is also accused of possession of an explosive black powder, a weapon designed to discharge a noxious gas or liquid- namely pepper spray, and of using abusive, threatening or insulting words or behaviour to cause alarm.

A stretch of the A689 road was closed from Friday afternoon until late on Saturday to allow specialist search teams to examine the campervan.

A search warrant executed at an address in the Cleveland Police area over the weekend was also connected to the ongoing investigation.

The Crown Prosecution Service asked for the case to be adjourned for a week so it can obtain consent from the Attorney General to proceed with the explosives charge.

Mr Flint’s solicitor Peter Hamill applied for bail but that was refused and he was remanded in custody until his next court appearance.

Magistrates adjourned the case until July 9 when Mr Flint will appear at the same court via video link.