AN MP has recalled the day she was a sent a package in the post which contained white powder, she feared may be Anthrax.

Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point, spoke out as a man admitted sending hoax white powder - in some cases in packages marked “Anthrax” - to female MPs and councillors, including Mrs Harris.

Richard Hayes, 40, of no fixed address, was arrested in Barnstaple, Devon, on July 18 by counter-terrorism police and appeared at Exeter Crown Court where he admitted 16 charges of making a noxious substance hoax.

Mr Harris recalled the day and how she defied the hoaxer, telling the Echo: “It was delivered to my Benfleet office and I was glad it was me who opened it rather than a member of my team, or my son, who was also with me as it was half term. We immediately followed procedure and contacted the police, however, it was a huge waste of their time.

“I assumed that whoever had sent it had hoped to cause concern so I didn’t want them to get the satisfaction of seeing it reported in the media at the time.”

Hayes sent the packages to MPs and councillors between 2011 and 2014.

The charges state he did so “intending to induce in a person anywhere in the world a belief that it was likely to be or to contain a noxious substance ... thereby endangering human life or to create serious risk to human health”.

Judge Peter Johnson, Honorary Recorder of Exeter, told Hayes: “Your expectation should be one of a lengthy custodial sentence.”

Hayes will be sentenced in November.

Police said the packages contained various non-hazardous substances including flour, protein powder and bicarbonate of soda.

Det Sgt Mark Wallis, from the Counter Terrorism Policing unit, said: “I am pleased Hayes has pleaded guilty, potentially saving his victims the strain of attending a drawn-out court case and having to re-live the shock of uncovering the powder.

“These hoaxes caused significant strain on all of Hayes’ victims.”

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