A hoaxer from Alnwick who claimed to be a member of Islamic State during a series of bomb-threat calls to the police has today been jailed.
Colin Gibson, of Cedar Grove, told Northumbria Police, during four separate telephone calls within an hour-and-a-half, that there were bombs planted at Newcastle Central Station.
He claimed during the late-night calls that the devices were ready to explode and cause carnage.
Newcastle Crown Court heard British Transport Police officers carried out a search of the station and no devices were found.
Gibson, who had used two sim cards to make the calls from his mobile phone, was quickly traced and arrested before any disruption was caused to travellers or station users.
At the time, the 26-year-old was on a suspended sentence for making a series of suicide theats to the police force, claiming he was going to jump from the city’s Tyne Bridge, a month earlier.
Gibson admitted four charges of communicating false information.
Judge John Milford QC sentenced him to 16 months behind bars for the bomb hoaxes plus a further six weeks for the breach of suspended sentence.
The judge said: “Claiming to be a member of Islamic State, you said that a number of bombs had been planted at the central station in this city and were set to explode.
“So it was, members of British Transport Police had to search the railway station and satisfy themselves that there were no suspicious packages to be found, as indeed there were not.
“It is right the station was not evacuated, so members of the public were not either frightened or inconvenienced.”
Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court the calls were all made on January 19.
Mr Wardlaw said: “He identified himself being a member of Islamic State and stated his name was William Robson but that Colin Gibson had planted a number of bombs at Newcastle Central Station.
“He said they were all set to explode and cause serious damage to the station. Given the time the calls were made and the amount of members of the public using the station, it was felt it was not appropriate to evacuate it.
“It was possible to conduct a thorough search without having to take that step. He was arrested very shortly after the last call, within minutes.”
Joe Hedworth, defending, said Gibson is an ‘extremely vulnerable’ young man, with a troubled background and personality disorder, who was ‘attention seeking’.
Mr Hedworth said: “He is greatly ashamed about his actions and also extremely embarrassed.”
He told the court Gibson, who has more than 100 previous convictons, had consumed a large amount of alcohol before he made the calls.”