A man accused of causing a bomb scare when he left an e-cigarette battery outside a Territorial Army base has been cleared.

Jake Freeman was spotted on CCTV placing a metallic cylinder on the gates of a Darlington TA centre before walking away from the area.

The 24-year-old maintained that he placed the e-cigarette battery at the secure gates as he couldn’t find a rubbish bin to dispose of the object.

Last month, a jury failed to reach a verdict following a trial at Teesside Crown Court and the jury was discharged.

This morning, the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence in the case and Freeman was cleared of the alleged offence.

Joe Culley, prosecuting, said the CPS had decided to offer no evidence against Mr Freeman as it would not be in the public interest to seek a retrial.

The Northern Echo: A police cordon in place on Neasham Road, Darlington, last October.A police cordon in place on Neasham Road, Darlington, last October. (Image: Picture: THE NORTHERN ECHO)

Mr Culley said the defendant had spent several months on remand following his arrest last October.

During the first trial, jurors heard how a specialist army unit was deployed to carry out a controlled explosion before determining that the battery was not dangerous.

The defendant had always maintained that he couldn’t find a bin to dispose of the battery and thought it wouldn’t cause any problem if he left it at the security gates of the TA centre, on Neasham Road, Darlington.

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The Northern Echo:

Jurors had heard how Freeman voluntarily attended Darlington police station to tell officers it was him that they were looking for after Durham Constabulary posted an appeal for information on social media.

Entering a not guilty verdict, Judge Richard Bennett said: “The Crown having offered no further evidence against you, a not guilty verdict has been returned.

“Just be careful where you leave litter in the future.”

Freeman, of Walworth Crescent, Darlington, always denied placing an article with intent to cause a bomb hoax at around 3.50pm on October 24 last year.