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Steven Burnett from Gravesend admits making bomb threat to staff at mental health centre in Dartford

By Lynn Cox

A man has admitted making a bomb threat to staff at a mental health centre, which led to a shopping mall being evacuated.

Steven Burnett, 36, pleaded guilty to making the hoax claim a bomb had been left at Arndale House, in Dartford, last month.

The call meant the building and the Priory Shopping Centre next door were both evacuated.

Burnett targeted staff at Arndale House
Burnett targeted staff at Arndale House

He appeared before magistrates in Medway on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to making a phone call to the Dartford, Gravesend and Swanley mental health team.

The court heard Burnett, of Valley Drive, Gravesend, made a mobile phone call to staff at the centre, in Spital Street, during the afternoon of Friday, July 20, saying there was a bomb inside.

On the day in question police were called out to the centre at 2.13pm and evacuated the Priory mall before sending sniffer dogs inside.

One woman who was shopping at the time, but didn't want to be named, said: "There was a big police presence there and sent police dogs in the centre."

A short while later officers arrested Burnett, in Gun Lane, Strood, on suspicion of conveying a bomb threat and was later charged with the offence.

Burnett targeted the centre in July
Burnett targeted the centre in July

The bench heard he called Debra Rodgers at Arndale House, and told her a bomb was inside and he had made the call because he was unhappy the mental health team about his treatment.

The team based at Arndale House provide assessments and interventions for people experiencing severe mental health problems.

Magistrates decided to adjourned the case so probation officers can carry out a pre-sentencing report on Burnett and he was bailed until his next appearance.

Part of his bail conditions ban him from going to the shopping centre and Burnett will be sentenced at Maidstone Magistrates' Court, on Thursday, August 30.

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