4th March 2004

Bomb hoax brings St Helier to a standstill

Five young adults were charged with paralysing the heart of St Helier by placing a bag on the Weighbridge and telling police it was a bomb. In June, the Jersey Evening Post reported that all five “have now admitted the charges against them”.

Police had acted swiftly upon receiving the report by clearing the area, evacuating nearby buildings and stopping buses in their tracks. By 5.25pm, bomb disposal officers were on the scene, where they carried out a controlled explosion on what turned out to be a harmless package. They set out to identify who had phoned in the false warning and, before long, had made five arrests. The suspects were aged between 14 and 20.

Police had initially said that the severity of the incident meant that anyone convicted of involvement could expect a sentence of up to seven years in jail. However, when they were convicted, the five received significantly lighter punishments. By the time their trials drew to a close in July, four of them had already spent several months in youth custody, which would have to be taken into account. The longest sentence handed out was therefore 12 months, and two were given just 120 hours’ community service. The youngest was not imprisoned or assigned community service, but had a curfew imposed.


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