Bomb hoaxer jailed over incident in Hailsham which led to homes being evacuated

A young dad has been jailed following a hoax bomb scare in Hailsham which led to more than 200 residents being evacuated from their homes.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 2:16 pm

Joseph Firminger appeared before Lewes Crown Court on Monday (August 3), after pleading guilty to placing a hoax bomb with intent and communicating false information about a hoax bomb.

The 26-year-old dad-of-three was jailed for two years and three months, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed.

Sussex Police released this photo of him after he appeared at court.

Joseph Firminger has been jailed. Picture: Sussex Police

Firminger created and planted the dummy device on a car in The Diplocks, Hailsham, on January 28, 2019.

The item was a round metal tin covered in black tape and with wires coming out of it.

A critical incident was declared by police and officers started to evacuate homes in the housing estate.

The Express reported how a 100m cordon was set up and the bomb squad called in. It was later extended to 400m – to ensure the safety of members of the public and residents in the area.

Police at the scene in The Diplocks, Hailsham. Picture: Dan Jessup

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team carried out a specialist examination of the package and conducted a safe and controlled explosion, police confirmed at the time.

Officers concluded that the incident was a hoax. Firminger was arrested on suspicion of the hoax.

A search of his house found items including wiring and tools which forensically matched those on the device. His DNA was also found on the items, and an examination of his mobile phone showed internet searches relating to explosive devices and how to report suspicious items.

Firminger was later charged and appeared before Hastings Magistrates’ Court in March, before appearing at Lewes Crown Court this week for sentencing.

Police at the scene in The Diplocks, Hailsham. Picture: Dan Jessup

A spokesman for the CPS said: “Joseph Firminger pleaded guilty to two charges – one of placing an article with intent and the other of communicating false information with intent.

“He was sentenced to 27 months custody to run concurrently on each count.”

Detective Inspector Daniel Dugan said: “Firminger’s actions caused a huge amount of distress and disruption to those hundreds of residents who were evacuated while the item was examined.

“His false report also saw a large number of police and emergency service personnel involved, meaning they were taken away from attending other genuine calls.

“We hope this sentencing sends out a message that hoax threats and reports will absolutely not be tolerated and will be taken seriously by police and by the courts.”

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