Seaton bomb hoaxer given suspended jail sentence

PUBLISHED: 17:09 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:02 14 March 2018

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court

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Depressed 55-year-old threatened to blow up an amusement arcade because police ‘upset me’

A former firefighter who is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder caused a Seaton amusement arcade to be evacuated after making a hoax bomb call.

Timothy Joy told police he had planted enough explosives inside the seafront building to ‘blow up everyone inside’ and said the device would go off in 20 minutes.

Police evacuated the arcade and threw a 200 yard cordon around it which remained in place until it had been searched by officers.

The culprit was traced within minutes because he had made the call on his own mobile phone. He said he sparked the hoax because he wanted to ‘wind up’ the police.

Joy, aged 55, of Harbour Road, Seaton, admitted communicating false information to the police and was jailed for six months, suspended for a year by Judge Erik Salomonsen at Exeter Crown Court.

He was curfewed for three weeks and ordered to pay £150 compensation and £115 costs.

The judge told him he was not sending him straight to prison because of evidence that he was already being treated for PTSD and depression at the time of the offence.

He said: “You were drunk and had a supposed grievance against the police. You made a call saying you had planted a device with enough powder to blow up everyone inside.

“The direct consequence of that was that the authorities had to ensure the safety of the public with an evacuation and a cordon. Inquiries were made and there was clearly no bomb.

“Anyone who calls the emergency services in this way is undertaking a thoroughly and completely anti-social act against those who work selflessly for the public.

“It would have alarmed anyone who was in that area of Seaton. It was not a victimless crime. It may have been reckless and without thought but there were victims and consequences. There was expense and inconvenience.”

Hollie Gilbery, prosecuting, said Joy made the call on a traceable mobile phone at 6pm on January 19 this year and said he had planted a device outside the arcade which would explode in 20 minutes.

He told the police ‘there is enough powder there to blow the s*** out of everyone’ and said he was doing it ‘because you lot have upset me’.

He later told police he was winding them up because they had failed to return a dog lead which he claimed they had seized from him two months earlier. He accepted he was drunk when he made the call.

Rachel Smith, defending, said Joy is suffering from PTSD and depression as a result of his 15 years of service as a firefighter.

At the time he was in contact with the mental health services but drinking instead of taking his medication. He has since re-engaged with them, been put on better medication, and stopped abusing alcohol.

She said he is genuinely sorry for the inconvenience he caused.

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