A POLICE officer who dealt with the aftermath of a London terror attack was caught up in a bomb hoax, a court heard.
The former Met and British Transport Police officer fell victim to the hoax phoned in by a disgruntled employee at Whitman Laboratories, which produces luxury Estee Lauder cosmetics.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard the former officer turned factory security manager was victim to Havant man Sean Fagan’s hoax. Fagan has now been jailed for a year.
The court heard Fagan, 31, of Botley Drive, Leigh Park, had failed a drugs test at work before phoning in the hoax.
‘There’s a bomb in the building, you’ve got eight minutes to get out,’ he said in a call to the factory on his phone on July 17 at 11.45pm.
Prosecutor Daniel Sawyer told how 180 people at the factory in Petersfield were evacuated, with the production line forced into a hard stop – at a cost of £155,000.
He said the factory’s security officer was involved in the London bombings in 2005.
‘It brought back many unpleasant memories despite being a hoax,’ the ex-officer said.
Mr Sawyer added: ‘He was heavily involved in the London bombing in 2005.
‘He was in fact in the police at the time and was involved in the clear-up.’
Two phone calls were made on the night to the factory in Bedford Road, Petersfield, but at court a judge accepted Fagan only made one call.
Fagan had been with an unnamed man on the night, who the court heard made the first call using an automated voice. It said: ‘There’s a bomb going off at five to midnight.’
It added ‘goodbye’ or ‘good luck’, the court heard.
Fagan was traced as the firm still had his details.
He told police he said ‘device’ not bomb and said he had done it as a ‘joke’.
Sentencing, judge David Melville QC said: ‘This was an awful thing for you to do, whether egged on by an ill-meaning or a well-meaning friend, and I accept the second call was yours and not the first call.
‘But even so one must have imagined that the place would have to be evacuated, people would be terrified they were going to be blown up.
‘One sees on the television awful things that could have happened had you been telling to truth.’
The judge added: ‘This was something entirely caused by you because you had a grievance against your former employer.’
Howard Barrington-Clark said Fagan had four siblings, was the ‘runt’ of the litter and had complained to management about bullying. He said: ‘Without being unkind, throughout his life he has been the runt of the litter and the butt of everyone’s joke because he is so slow.’
Fagan admitted communicating a bomb threat.