Beans bomb hoax man sent to jail
A man who admitted causing a bomb hoax with tins of beans in the Hazelbank area of Londonderry earlier this year has been jailed for three months.
James McAuley (26), from Kavanagh Court, threw two tins of beans, which had been taped together and which had wires and a watch attached to them, into his uncle's Ballachmore home in the early hours of June 6.
A prosecution solicitor told District Judge Barney McElholm at the Magistrates Court in Derry that when he threw the tins of beans into the house after he had forced open the front door, McAuley shouted "tick, tock".
The solicitor said when McAuley's uncle threw the taped tins out of his home, they landed under his car.
"The incident caused widespread disruption which involved the evacuation of over 20 families from their homes and the tasking of Army bomb disposal officers", he said.
The solicitor said that two months earlier, on April 8, McAuley was arrested for disorderly behaviour at Strand Road after he was verbally abusive to police officers. During that incident he sang 'The Fields Of Anthenry', made sectarian comments to police officers and made an offensive reference to the Queen.
Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said that after his arrest for the bomb hoax incident, McAuley told the police that the device consisted of two tins of beans. As a result of that information, the bomb disposal unit, which was based in Belfast, was "stood down".
The district judge said one of the most concerning aspects of the bomb hoax case was that McAuley had stopped at his home on his way to his uncle's house and collected the device from his garden shed, where it had been for two weeks.
"This wasn't a case of someone throwing a bag into a property and shouting bomb. This was premeditated by a man who in the past has made several false reports to the police," he said.
"His actions cost enormous expense to the public purse as well as causing a lot of disruption."
After McAuley was jailed for three months, his mother left the courtroom in a distressed state.