Published: 00:00, 27 July 2006
| Updated: 11:02, 28 July 2006
A 40-year-old man who threatened to blow up a Kent police station has been jailed for two years by a crown court judge.
Police received a 999 call just after 7am in February from a man with an Irish accent saying: “IRA. IRA. I am going to blow up Folkestone police station. Folkestone police station is going up in 10 minutes.” Then he hung up.
The hoax call was traced to a callbox in Mill Field near the police station and the caller was also caught on CCTV.
Officers arrested Gary Tomlinson, of no fixed address, who was jailed at Canterbury Crown Court, having admitted communicating false information. Tomlinson asked for two further matters to be considered.
The court heard Tomlinson’s criminal record stretched over 21 pages listing 53 convictions for 105 offences and he had a previous matter for sending a false phone message.
Katie Fox, for Tomlinson, said he was a persistent offender but the offences were of a minor nature.
There were signs of him slowing down and he had stopped a long-standing drug use for about 18 months, getting himself off amphetamine addiction.
“There was something of a relapse which led him to call the police in the way he did,” said Miss Fox. “It was unsophisticated in the extreme, using a phone box near the police station.”
Jailing Tomlinson, Judge Nigel van der Bijl said the maximum sentence for bomb hoaxes had recently increased from five to seven years although the Court of Appeal had indicated two years was appropriate but, said Judge Van der Bijl, in his view that was far too short.
He said: “Bomb hoaxes can cause enormous disruption. They can cause danger to people when the police or the Army have to use certain tactical proceedures. All these dangers lie at the door of a person like you who was a bomb hoaxer and substantial prison sentence ought to be passed whatever the mitigation in order to deter these sorts of offences. We have all had to learn to live with our lives being threatened. We should not have to react to the antics of bomb hoaxers as well.”
Tomlinson was allowed the 156 days he has served on remand to be taken into account.