Man charged after 'suspicious package' sent to coronavirus vaccine site

30 January 2021, 11:07 | Updated: 30 January 2021, 11:19

All staff had to be evacuated from the Wockhardt site in Wrexham, North Wales, on Wednesday
All staff had to be evacuated from the Wockhardt site in Wrexham, North Wales, on Wednesday. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

A man has been charged after a suspicious package was sent to a coronavirus vaccine production site.

All staff had to be evacuated from the Wockhardt site in Wrexham, North Wales, on Wednesday as the package was investigated.

A spokesman for Kent Police said Anthony Collins, of Chatham Hill, Chatham, had been charged with dispatching an article by post with the intention of inducing the belief it is likely to explode or ignite.

The 53-year-old was arrested by officers on Thursday morning.

He was remanded in custody to appear at Medway Magistrates' Court on Saturday, the force said.

Police cordons on Abbey Road outside the Wrexham Industrial Estate near the Wockhardt site
Police cordons on Abbey Road outside the Wrexham Industrial Estate near the Wockhardt site. Picture: PA

Production ground to a halt at the site on Wednesday as the item, which police said was not a viable device, was investigated.

Wockhardt, a global pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, provides fill-and-finish services for the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine - the final stage of putting the vaccine into vials.

The same factory had teams working through the night to protect it from flooding caused by Storm Christoph just weeks earlier.

Workers pumped water from the area and clearing gullies to make sure water didn't build up around the Wockhardt UK on Wrexham Industrial Estate, after the building experienced mild flooding.

There were fears the north Wales factory would be overwhelmed by the rising floodwaters, but thankfully the fast action meant there was no damage and the facility can operate as normal.