Belfast Telegraph

Limavady man who used mobile to phone in bomb hoax jailed

By Nevin Farrell

A Limavady man who used his mobile to phone in hoaxes, including on one occasion claiming that a bomb had gone off in the town, has been jailed for two months.

Paul Ireland (31), of Eventide Gardens, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates' Court on Monday via video link from Maghaberry Prison where he has been on remand on the charges.

The court heard the defendant, who has over 170 convictions, also called a call handler a "black b******" before adding: "You are f****** simple".

After another call, this time to the 101 number, Ireland said there was a fire at flats in Limavady. The court heard police, fire crew and ambulance crews responded.

When interviewed, Ireland confirmed he made the calls and said he was "drunk off his head".

On a later date he phoned in another warning saying there was a "bomb" at flats in Limavady and this time it was recognised it was Ireland.

The defendant pleaded guilty to charges of persistent improper use of public communications to cause anxiety; wasting police time; communicating false information regarding bombs and giving a false report of a fire.

A defence barrister said he was aware courts treat such offences seriously but that Ireland had used his own mobile and had given his own name and date of birth.

He said his client has a problem with alcohol.

District Judge Peter King said he was prepared to accept there was "nothing sinister" behind the offending but that it was down to "stupidity".

The judge said it was quite clear alcohol was involved and said Ireland was always going to get detected.

"Either you were too drunk to know what you were doing or too drunk to care," said the judge.

He said he was concerned by the abuse "heaped upon" call handlers and the persistent nature of the calls as he jailed him for two months.

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