A BOMB hoaxer has been jailed after causing disruption to more than 200 residents on his housing estate.

Joseph Firminger created a dummy device and started talking to neighbours in The Diplocks, Hailsham.

The 26-year-old called the police with information of a “suspect device”.

He admitted making a false communication, and placing a device intended to be seen as something which could explode or ignite.

The Argus:

At Lewes Crown Court, prosecution barrister Rachel Beckett revealed how events unfolded in Hailsham on January 28, 2019. 

You can read more on the story here: 'Attention seeking' bomb hoaxer caused major disruption

December 30, 2018: Joseph Firminger first searches the internet looking at IED devices and searched for “arson and incendiary device training aids”.

January 28, 2019,1.30pm: Joseph Firminger approaches neighbour Tracey Tierney asking her if she had seen Kim Cooper, another neighbour, because there was “something on her car”. Ms Tierney told Firminger she thought it looked like a car part. Kim Cooper saw it however and agreed the device looked “suspicious”.

3.09pm: Firminger searches on his phone about how to report suspicious items to the UK authorities.

3.10pm: Firminger reports the incident by calling 999.

4pm: PC Daniel Cloke arrives at the scene and says the device looks like a can wrapped in black electrical insulation tape with black, brown and blue wires sticking out.

4.15pm: A critical incident team is set up by Inspector Bartlett who said the device is either a hoax or a viable but crudely made IED deliberately placed in the public place, capable of causing harm. A 100 metre cordon is set up in the area.

6.30pm: Police start to evacuate homes within a 400 metre radius, so as many as 200 residents must leave.

8.20pm: A community shelter is opened by Wealden District Council’s out of hours team at the Vicarage Lane Community Hall.

10pm: The device is declared non-viable

10.24pm: The police cordon is removed.

11.20pm: Residents are allowed to return to their homes.

1.24am: A conclusion states that the police believe the incident was a hoax.

January 29 2019: Joseph Firminger is arrested on suspicion of the hoax the following afternoon

March 10, 2020: Firminger is charged and set to appear before Hastings Magistrates’ Court.

August 3, 2020: Firminger appears before Lewes Crown Court and is jailed.

Judge Mark Van Der Zwart said: “You pleaded guilty to placing an article that caused a person to believe it would explode or ignite, and also communicating false information with intent.

“Essentially you said there was a device, and that was a bomb hoax. You called the police and gave your name to report a suspicious package in the heart of a residential area.

The Argus:

“The call came after you told other people in the area that you knew of a presence of a suspicious item that you in fact had made.

“It was about the size of a drinks can with wires protruding, giving the appearance of an explosive device.

“Your actions caused great distress and inconvenience. It was a waste of public resources as hundreds of people including elderly residents and children in their pyjamas were required to leave their homes on a cold evening.

“The emergency services were severely disrupted as a result of this deliberate and well planned bomb hoax.”

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