Ipswich: Businessman speaks out over Terrorism Act charge after bomb scare arrest

IPSWICH: A man facing charges under the Terrorism Act for breaking through a police cordon to open up two suspect packages at the centre of a bomb scare has today said he was only trying to help.

James Mullan, of Main Road, Kesgrave, has been charged with failing to comply with a police cordon, after ducking under police tape cordoning off Ipswich’s market on the Corn Hill during the drama.

The charge comes under section 36 (2) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

The 62-year-old businessman who works in the town centre, made a dash through the cordon near to the Town Hall at around 5.10pm, after officers had evacuated the Town Hall, nearby buildings and the market. Police officers were alerted to the incident by staff working at the Customer Service Centre in the Town Hall at around 2.30pm.

A rucksack and a holdall were left in the centre by a man, sparking the drama.

Mr Mullan made his way inside the Town Hall and opened the bags, discovering “no wires or anything, just clothes and trainers,” he said.

The father-of-one, who is on bail to appear at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court on December 1 for the first hearing in his case, said he had no idea what he was doing was against the law.

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He said the prospect of the case against him is “a terrifying thought”.

“I thought I was doing good, I was trying to help,” he said. “As soon as the cordon went up, business is dead for lots of people in Ipswich.

“All the market traders had to pack up and leave the market.

“I just thought someone must have put the bags down and forgotten about them.

“I thought I was doing everyone a favour by just having a quick look.

“My intentions were 100 per cent good. In hindsight, with 20-20 vision my motive was to help everybody.”

Police officers arrested Mr Mullan at the scene. At around 5.30pm the cordon was lifted after officers discovered the bags posed no threat.

Officers are today continuing to carrying out inquiries in a bid to identify the man who left the bags behind.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 01473 613500.

IPSWICH: The town faced a second bomb scare less than 24 hours after the Corn Hill incident.

Security at Churchill House, Crown Street, raised the alarm shortly before 2pm yesterday after a black laptop-sized bag was left at the rear of the building.

Suffolk police said they cordoned off the area while a bomb disposal unit was mobilised.

More than 170 staff at Churchill Insurance’s offices were evacuated and moved to their other base in Princes Street.

Then, shortly after 3pm, an officer from Suffolk Policenot from the bomb disposal unit approached the holdall and discovered a drum pedal inside.

n Were you caught up in either drama? Call Newsdesk on 01473 324788 or you can e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.