A HOAX caller who claimed somebody had twice planted a bomb at his Burton home has been jailed for a year by magistrates.
Armed officers were dispatched to a home in Westfield Road on two consecutive days in February, following anonymous reports from Matthew Pike that a bomb had been placed in the property. No sign of explosives were found on either occasion.
It followed a string of nameless calls – traced back to the 20-year-old – reporting that a man of his name was leaving the same address brandishing firearms and chasing people with knives.
In the last call, he claimed somebody had put a burning piece of paper through his letterbox. It was later discovered that he himself carried out the act.
Pike, now of Broadway Street, Burton, was sentenced to a total of 52 weeks behind bars when he appeared before Burton Magistrates’ Court yesterday, after admitting making the hoax calls, arson, and six counts of wasting police time in January and February this year. He wept as he was taken from the dock.
It has been estimated his actions wasted around 130 hours of police time, the court was told.
John Skinner, defending, said Pike had made the ‘bizarre calls’ during a difficult time in his life, for which he blamed his former business partner Caroline Hobson.
“He found himself in a position where, for whatever reason, he was unable to accept responsibility for himself and he looked for someone to blame. The subject of that blame became Mrs Hobson.
“He started to make phone calls that alleged he himself was behaving in bizarre ways in the misguided belief that police would arrive at the conclusion it was Mrs Hobson making these calls,” he said.
Pike was in business with Mrs Hobson last year, but his side of the venture failed and he lost his home as he was unable to keep up rent payments.
He retaliated by carrying out ‘fraudulent acts’ when he was caught out and sentenced to a community order. He lost his job as a result.
The pressure led to concerns for his mental health, Mr Skinner said.
“He effectively went off the rails. It is apparent that Mr Pike’s decision making at that point in time was somewhat skewed,” the solicitor added.
Afterwards, DC Mark Woodings, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Not only were precious policing hours wasted in attending each of the reports but further time and public money was spent securing the evidence to prove he was lying and put a stop to the false reporting.
“We will not tolerate such abuse of public services and this result sends a clear message to anyone who thinks they can get away with making hoax calls.”