An incident revolving around a campervan and its owner brought drama to the Olympic Torch Relay this week as it winds its way round the whole of the UK.
Since its arrival at Land’s End seven days ago huge crowds have turned out everywhere to see the runners bearing the iconic Olympic symbol, but its arrival in the Somerset town of Taunton culminated with a campervan owner appearing in court after threatening to blow up his campervan when the torch relay passed. Darren Cole, 40, allegedly phoned up a national newspaper telling them he would blow up the camper, rendering his campervan insurance void, which he had parked on the route the torch was following.
An urgent phone call to the police saw Cole arrested as detectives realised that a campervan he owned was actually parked close by to where a torch bearer would be passing. Dean Lampard, the Crown Prosecutor for Taunton, told the court: “Having reviewed this case in line with the code for crown prosecutors, I have today decided that there is sufficient evidence to charge Darren Cole and that it is in the public interest to do so. A campervan, registered to Mr Cole, was found by Avon and Somerset constabulary in the centre of Taunton near the procession route. An explosion coming from the van would have endangered the life of any one nearby. The case is still in its early stages but we are working closely with Avon and Somerset constabulary and we are all taking this matter very seriously.”
Mr Cole was remanded in custody until his case is heard at the end of the month. It is the first adverse publicity surrounding the torch as its progress through the West Country has been supported by hundreds of thousands of people. The torch bearers are surrounded by a security entourage that numbers over 50 but the aim of the relay is to put as much as the population as possible close to the route, which creates a wonderful spectacle for onlookers but makes safety control much more difficult.