Ex-SAFC goalie’s bomb hoax case

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A GOALKEEPER who used to play for Sunderland AFC’s academy side is in jail awaiting his fate after admitting a bomb hoax and robbery.

Dan Staples, who has also played for Wrexham and in the Northern League, has been in custody since he was arrested after the incident at a County Durham branch of Coral Racing.

On July 5, he left what he claimed was an explosive device – and a note demanding money – at the shop in Annfield Plain.

The area was cordoned off by emergency services and bomb disposal experts were called in to detonate the package, which was later confirmed to be harmless.

Staples admitted placing an imitation explosive device with intent to induce another to believe it would ignite or explode.

He also pleased guilty to blackmail, in making a demand of money with menaces to a staff member at Coral.

The 21-year-old made his admissions at Durham Crown Court last month, but was still due to stand trial for a robbery outside the Circus Casino in Forth Street, Newcastle, on February 6.

But at the start of the trial Staples changed his plea to guilty.

The incident stemmed from an earlier altercation.

He claimed that the victim, who had a wallet containing £500 snatched, had taken some of his gambling chips.

Staples, of Harelaw Gardens, Catchgate, who left Sunderland AFC in 2008, will be sentenced on December 16.