A DRUNKEN woman who phoned in a bomb hoax to police has been criticised by a magistrate who warned: ‘This could have been far worse.’
Frances Newton, 37, of no fixed address, called Hampshire police on August 4 claiming she saw someone carrying a bomb in Fratton.
But after an initial phone call ended and police called her back to take her details, she confessed to being drunk and making it up.
Newton appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates Court today and admitted causing wasteful employment of police.
Chair of the magistrates’ bench, Nick Wells, said whether or not the police were called to the scene ‘doesn’t matter’.
‘This could have been far worse,’ he said.
‘There could have been emergency workers sent elsewhere.
‘When somebody makes a bomb threat, all hell breaks loose – at least that didn’t happen.’
Magistrates handed Newton a six-month conditional discharge.
Newton was told to pay £50 costs, and a victim surcharge of £21.
The court heard she told police there was someone carrying a bomb in the area, but did not remember anything about the incident.
She had been drinking heavily after a traumatic family matter, the court heard.
A spokesman from Hampshire police said: ‘What might seem like a joke to some people can have a serious impact on the ability of emergency services to help those who are genuinely in need.
‘The more time that is spent by our call handlers dealing with hoaxes, pranks, and nuisance phone calls means that people trying to report an ongoing crime or a medical emergency are less likely to have their voices heard.
‘We take this type of offence extremely seriously, and hope this is a stark reminder to those who seek to misuse 999 and 101 that there will be serious consequences to their actions.’