A 56-year-old man has been charged with causing an explosion which injured 33 people.

Merseyside Police said Pascal Blasio, of Gillingham, Kent, had been charged with causing an explosion likely to endanger life after the blast in New Ferry, Wirral, on Saturday March 25 last year.

A force spokesman said he had been released on conditional bail and was due to appear at Wirral Magistrates' Court on April 4.

Blasio is accused of unlawfully and maliciously causing an explosion which was likely to endanger life or damage property.

Independent gas supplier Contract Natural Gas Limited (CNG) has been charged with an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for failing to discharge general health/safety duty to a person other than an employee.

Two people were seriously injured in the explosion last year, which left debris scattered along the street and forced the evacuation of people from the surrounding area to a nearby church.

The blast destroyed a dance studio where children had been just an hour before and blew in the front of a Chinese restaurant.