Alleged blackmail of Tesco -man in court

A MAN appeared before a judge today accused of waging a blackmail and bomb hoax campaign against supermarket chain Tesco, which allegedly led to the temporary closure of a Suffolk branch.

A MAN appeared before a judge today accused of waging a blackmail and bomb hoax campaign against supermarket chain Tesco, which allegedly led to the temporary closure of a Suffolk branch.

Unemployed Philip McHugh, 51, faces charges of trying to blackmail £1million from the retailer as well as making a series of bomb threats which saw 14 stores - including the one in Bury St Edmunds - closed for security checks last month.

McHugh, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, appeared before judge Michael Baker QC at Luton Crown Court this morning.

He is facing two specimen charges of blackmail, on July 7 and July 13 this year, and two further charges of making bomb hoaxes on July 14.


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McHugh, wearing a grey prison sweatshirt, spoke only to confirm his name during the brief hearing this morning. No pleas were entered to any of the charges.

There was no application for bail and McHugh was remanded back into custody until November 5, when he will appear at St Albans Crown Court to enter pleas to the charges.

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As part of his alleged blackmail campaign, it is said McHugh's threats saw Tesco stores evacuated last month, with shops temporarily closed in Dyfed Powys in Wales, Fife and Strathclyde in Scotland as well as Lancashire, Leicestershire, Humberside, Herefordshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and London, as well as Bury St Edmunds.

The stores reopened after searches of the buildings and surrounding areas.

McHugh was arrested in Clitheroe on July 23.

Hertfordshire Police, which led the investigation focusing on Tesco's headquarters in Cheshunt, said no-one else was being sought in connection with the inquiry.

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