A man who made a hoax bomb call leading to the evacuation Fox’s Biscuits in Batley on the day Prime Minister David Cameron was visiting another of the company’s premises, has been jailed for 18 months.
Leeds Crown Court heard counter terrorism officers were involved because of the alert on November 9 last year.
John Bull, prosecuting, said Irfan Liaqat claimed in the 999 call at 1.49pm that day to have received a text message saying bombs had been placed in the factory.
Using a false name he said he did not know who had sent the message but that they were due to go off at 2.30pm, 6.30pm and 9pm. He then hung up on the operator.
Mr Bull said the operations support manager at the factory was contacted and because of the timing the message was taken seriously and 550 workers were told to leave the premises. The factory was searched and nothing suspicious was found but it had cost the firm £36,000 in lost production during the three hour closure.
The court heard security was stepped up and police notified in Staffordshire, because on that day the Prime Minister was visiting Fox’s factory in Uttoxeter.
Three days later another 999 call was received at 5am again indicating bombs at the Batley factory but this time there was no evacuation.
Mr Bull said the calls were traced to a mobile phone which had been lost in a taxi months earlier and it turned out Liaqat had worked as a despatch driver for them before getting a job as a casual worker in packaging at the Fox’s factory, through an agency.
When a search was made at Liaqat’s home the SIM card from the phone was recovered.
Voice recognition analysis was also done matching him to the first call.
Richard Gioserano representing Liaqat said he was unhappy at work.
A psychiatric report indicated he was depressed and suffering a psychotic episode at the time of the calls with his hearing voices playing a part in telling him what to do.
Medical intervention since meant he was now not considered at risk of similar re-offending.
Liaqat, 28 of Albion Court, Heckmondwike, admitted communicating false information to the police
Jailing him Recorder Ian Harris said he accepted he had problems but he had previously made two hoax calls to the police about the taxi firm when he worked there.
“This offending was mean, selfish and deliberate,” he said, adding that there had to be a deterrent sentence since such calls diverted valuable resources away from genuine work.
“I do not find there was any political or ideological motivation in your offending, if it had been you would have significantly aggravated your position.”