SuperCasino TV host is duped into 'shout-out' for Bobby Sands and Michael Stone
A late-night prankster tricked a national TV presenter into "giving a shout-out" to IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands and loyalist killer Michael Stone.
Viewers to the SuperCasino live gambling show on Channel 5 heard the name-check for the two terrorists in the early hours of yesterday.
Presenter Bryn Lucas was caught out by the hoaxer as he hosted an on-air roulette game.
As well as reading out the names of winners, Lucas responded to viewers' calls for him to say hello to their friends.
At one point a man who said his name was Roy sent an email asking Lucas to "give a shout-out to Bobby Sands and Michael Stone" - which the presenter proceeded to do.
He clearly didn't recognise the names of the IRA man who died on hunger strike at the Maze in 1981, or the loyalist who murdered six Catholics, including three mourners at an IRA funeral at Milltown Cemetery in 1988.
But viewers in Northern Ireland had no doubt who the dedication was for.
"I nearly choked on my whiskey," said one man in Belfast.
"I was just flicking through the channels before going to bed.
"And no sooner had I started listening to what SuperCasino was all about than I heard the names of Sands and Stone.
"I thought I must have been imagining things, but I played my Tivo box back and there was no mistake. Some people might have been angered but I wasn't annoyed.
"I thought it was funny that the prankster was cross-community, dedicating his message to terrorists from both sides.
"He was probably surprised that the presenter didn't catch on."
Broadcasters say people often try to trap their presenters into reading out inappropriate messages or names.
Sources close to SuperCasino said their teams work tirelessly to ensure that hoax calls didn't make it to air.
Shortly after the Sands/Stone request, Lucas warned viewers not to enter the roulette game using "rude" player names.
He said: "We don't like rude names. If we see them, we will change them."
Yesterday's request for Sands and Stone wasn't the first time that broadcasters have been conned.
Not long after Stone had been identified as the Milltown killer, a local radio presenter unwittingly read out a request praising him, though what he had done wasn't included in the message.
On another occasion, a request was read out on a radio station for a group of named men who were said to be "camping near Lisburn".
The presenter didn't realise it was a dedication for prisoners in the Maze.
Donald Trump has also been fooled.
Several years before he became President, he retweeted a photograph of English serial killers Fred and Rosemary West.
Mr Trump shared a spoof message that claimed that the murderers looked at him as a "big inspiration" and he was asked to retweet it for the Wests' memory.