Man jailed over Hailsham bomb hoax
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A man has been jailed over a bomb hoax that saw hundreds of residents evacuated in Hailsham.
Shortly after 3pm on January 28, 2019, police received a call from Joseph Firminger reporting a suspicious package found on a wall in The Diplocks.
The item was a round metal tin covered in black tape and with wires coming out of it.
Police officers attended the scene and sent photographs of the package to Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams (EOD).
At the request of the EOD, an initial 100m cordon was put in place - later extended to 400m - to ensure the safety of members of the public and residents in the area.
As a result, around 200 people were evacuated to a refuge at an emergency centre.
The device was examined by EOD and while it did have the appearance of an explosive device, it was found to not be viable and contained no actual explosives.
Firminger was arrested on suspicion of making the device and the subsequent hoax call to police to report it.
A search of his house found items including wiring and tools which forensically matched those on the device. His DNA was also found on the items, and an examination of his mobile phone showed internet searches relating to explosive devices and how to report suspicious items.
Firminger, 26, unemployed, of The Diplocks, Hailsham, pleaded guilty to placing a hoax bomb with intent and communicating false information about a hoax bomb.
He was sentenced to 27 months' imprisonment when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Monday (August 3).
Detective Inspector Daniel Dugan said: "Firminger's actions caused a huge amount of distress and disruption to those hundreds of residents who were evacuated while the item was examined.
"His false report also saw a large number of police and emergency service personnel involved, meaning they were taken away from attending other genuine calls.
"We hope this sentencing sends out a message that hoax threats and reports will absolutely not be tolerated and will be taken seriously by police and by the courts."