Canadian federal police have announced the arrest of a North Vancouver man for threatening to massacre theatergoers in a copycat of the recent bloodbath at a cinema in Colorado.

Ryan John Lewis, 32, “made significant death threats on his Facebook page… to commit crimes similar to the recent shootings in Colorado”, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement.

Police seized his computer and searched his apartment, but would not say if any weapons were found.

Mr Lewis has been charged with uttering threats, and was released on bail on the condition that he stays with his mother and not access the Internet.

RCMP Corporal Richard De Jong said the suspect has no criminal record but “shows affinity and support for the Colorado shootings”. The officer described the suspect’s Facebook postings as “quite graphic and disturbing”.

After last month’s massacre at the latest Batman film in Aurora, Colorado, which killed 12 and wounded 58, Cpl De Jong said Canadian police are taking this latest threat “very seriously”.