A man who planted a fake bomb and ISIS material on town centre benches in an attempt to panic shoppers and workers has been found guilty by a jury.

Preston Crown Court heard how Blackburn Town Hall and The Mall were evacuated as army bomb disposal experts and armed police were called to the benches in King William Street, after passers-by assumed the device was a credible threat.

Prosecuting, Rachel White said Craig Slee watched from a nearby doorway as the drama unfolded near the easyCoffee shop at 4.30pm on May 3.

She said at no stage did he alert officials that the unattended items, which included a laptop covered in electrical tape with a mobile phone attached to it, a silver case with electric tape on it, and books titled The Island Of ISIS and The Girl Who Beat ISIS, belonged to him.

The 49-year-old later told police he was part of the rave collective, Spiral Tribe, and was raising awareness of terror attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka by recording a music video.

Slee, of Logwood Street, Blackburn, denied placing an article with intent, but a jury of eight men and four women took just 35 minutes to find him guilty. He was remanded into custody to be sentenced on March 27.