Jail for bomb hoaxer

Jan Nirmal was led away after laying seige to his house on Mendip Road
Jan Nirmal was led away after laying seige to his house on Mendip Road

A drunk who made a hoax bomb out of an adult toy, forcing 100 people to leave their homes, has been jailed for 14 months.

More than 100 homes were evacuated after Jann Nirmal, 39, fashioned the two-foot device at his flat in Mendip Road, Clayton-le-Woods.

He told police it was an attempt to keep his neighbours out of his property.

Roads were closed, schools were disrupted and residents were evacuated without medication or belongings during the nine-hour siege at the flat.

Some were taken by bus to South Ribble Tennis Centre, while others sought refuge in the nearby Hayrick Pub.

Judge Christopher Cornwall, sentencing, said Nirmal’s actions were “an offence against the whole of the local community” and gave him 14 months behind bars.

Police officers visited the flat at around 8.10am to carry out a welfare visit after receiving a call, believed to be from Nirmal, saying: “I’ve had enough...the emotion.”

But when they did not get an answer at the door, they peered through the letterbox to see a two-foot purple cylindrical object with wires coming from it and orange hazard stickers, which looked to be a bomb, at the top of the stairs.

It had a PIR infrared device attached to it, with a red light constantly lit.

Heading up the stairs were stickers, saying “Just one more step”.

More than 100 properties were evacuated as police sealed off the area and bomb squad officers, fire engines, gas workers and negotiators were sent in.

Twenty five residents were transported in buses to South Ribble Tennis Centre where British Red Cross volunteers set up a rest centre, while others sought refuge at the nearby Hayrick pub.

Throughout the day trained negotiators attempted to reason with Nirmal, who refused to surrender, telling officers he had a weapon under his pillow.

At 5pm, after a day of road closures and negotiations, officers forced their way into the flat and arrested Nirmal in a bedroom.

In interview he told officers he had had a dispute with his neighbours and had placed the device to stop them coming up to the house.

The “device”, on examination, turned out to be a cardboard tube with the wire coming from the toy.

Preston Crown Court heard Nirmal, of Broadoak Road, Ashton-Under-Lyne, was drunk at the time of the incident and had placed the fake device to keep the neighbours away.

He pleaded guilty to placing a hoax bomb at a hearing at Preston Crown Court.

Det Insp John Entwisle from South Ribble CID said: “I am pleased with the sentence passed by the judge in respect of Jann Nirmal and hope it serves as a warning to others who think it is acceptable to concoct such terrifying hoaxes.

“All three emergency services and the bomb squad had to respond to this incident, which resulted in hours of wasted time and of course wasted money from the public purse. It was also a frightening experience for local residents who had to evacuate their homes and be moved to a rest centre while we dealt with the incident.

“Nirmal will now be able to reflect on what he has done while serving time in prison and hopefully he will realise the impact his actions have had on people.”

Clayton-le-Woods and Cuerden councillor Michael Muncaster said the sentence was “a slap on the wrist”, given the inconvenience caused to the local community.

He said: “I think he should have got far more. People must have been really worried and concerned about what was going to happen.

“I think 14 months is a drop in the ocean.”