A MAN placed an electronic device made to look like a bomb on his front door leading to homes being evacuated, a court heard.

Michael Wilson caused a major investigation to be carried out and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team to be deployed, Preston Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Alison Mather said officers from Cumbria Police discovered an electronic device taped to the front door of his property on Steel Street in Ulverston along with a wire coming from the letterbox at around 2:20 pm on December 6 last year.

She said officers had attended his address as they were concerned for his welfare.

Ms Mather said Wilson was located at another address.

She told the court: “PC Hilton was alarmed by a red flashing light coming from the device and of another cable running from the inside of a car.”

The court heard there was also a green box labelled ‘ammo’ outside the property and signage warning that a counter-terrorism device was in operation.

Ms Mather said officers were forced to declare a major investigation and evacuate people from their homes because they feared the device may be a trap and set off.

The court was told an EOD team attended the scene and took five hours to analyse the device before carrying out a controlled explosion at 8:30 am the following day.

The 47-year-old was originally charged with placing an improvised electrical device to induce another to believe that it was likely to explode or ignite and cause personal injury or damage to a property.

However, at a court hearing on June 3, the Crown Prosecution Service accepted they had insufficient evidence to continue with the charge and formally offered no evidence.

After consideration that morning, they eventually accepted an alternative plea to a section four Public Order Act offence was acceptable, namely that the defendant used threatening / abusive words / behaviour with intent to cause fear of / provoke unlawful violence.

The court heard Wilson had served the equivalent of a six-month sentence after being remanded into custody following his arrest before being released following his guilty plea last month.

In mitigation Sharon Watson said there had been a number of callouts to the defendant’s home by the police for what she described as ‘safeguarding issues’.

Ms Watson told the court: “He has mental health problems and has abused alcohol in the past. He tells me he believed he was being targeted by the police as he believed their motivation was to ensure he was sectioned.

“He has behaved since returning to his home. He is back in a relationship with his partner and is no longer drinking to excess.”

The court heard Wilson had six previous convictions for nine offences.

At the Sessions House building of Preston Crown Court on July 8, His Honour Judge Graham Knowles KC sentenced Wilson to a 12-month community order with one requirement of completing up to 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.