A MAN has appeared in court after a 'major incident' was declared at a Bournemouth block of flats earlier this week.

David Walker, 44, has been charged with damaging a gas supply pipe belonging to the council with intent to endanger life after an incident in Gillam Road, Kinson.

As reported in the Daily Echo, homes and a shop were evacuated and a huge cordon put in place after police were called to a concern for welfare shortly after 5pm on Monday.

Gas could be smelled and one of the residents at the block wasn't accounted for.

Fire crews, paramedics and police officers – including specially-trained negotiators – declared a major incident and evacuated all of the occupants of the block's six flats.

A convenience store at the foot of the building was also closed.

Walker, of Gillam Road, did not enter a plea to the charge against him when he appeared at Poole Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

David Finney, prosecuting, said police were called to the property for the first time at 2.40pm, when "words of advice" were given to a man.

A second call was made to the force around two and a half hours later.

When engineers from the gas service provider eventually entered the property, it was discovered that "gas levels within a flat were capable of causing serious damage," Mr Finney alleged.

It was claimed that Walker or others could have been "seriously injured or killed" as a result of the gas leak.

The defendant will next appear at Bournemouth Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing next month. He was remanded into custody ahead of the hearing,

Speaking after the incident was resolved and residents were allowed to return home, a spokesperson from Dorset Police added: "We would like to thank everyone affected by the situation for their patience and understanding while emergency services worked to resolve the situation safely."