A PROMINENT animal rights campaigner is in custody accused of waging an arson and blackmail campaign against the University of Oxford.

Mel Broughton, 47, of protest group Speak, is the first person to be charged with attacks over the university's controversial animal testing laboratory.

He is accused of being behind petrol bombs found at Templeton College, in Kennington, in February and a blaze at The Queen's College sports pavilion in November last year.

Broughton appeared briefly at Banbury Magistrates' Court yesterday and was remanded in custody.

Broughton, of Semilong Road, Northampton, is charged with conspiracy to blackmail, two counts of possessing an explosive substance and two counts of having an article with intent to damage.

District Judge Brian Loosely refused bail at Banbury Magistrates Court today and remanded Broughton in custody to appear at Oxford Crown Court on Friday.