Crowborough train tunnel bomb hoaxer jailed

Harry Geer
Harry Geer

A BOMB hoaxer who dialled 999 to report a bomb in a rail tunnel before giving police his real name has been jailed for six months.

Harry Geer (22), already serving in prison for an unconnected offence, claimed an explosion would take place in a rail tunnel in Crowborough in January last year, delaying train services in the area.

Geer appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday, 20 June 2011 after pleading guilty to one count of communicating false information.

The court heard that at 12.53pm on Monday, 26 January 2010, Geer called the Kent Police 999 switchboard, providing his name and alleging that a friend of his intended to cause an explosion near a railway tunnel in Crowborough.

Emergency services rushed to the scene but after an extensive search of the area no suspect devices were discovered, with the police search operation ending at 5.30pm.

Trains were not stopped during the incident but were run on caution. With drivers passing through the area at a reduced speed whilst the area was searched, services were delayed as a result.

Geer was arrested and interviewed by detectives the next day. He repeated his claim that a friend had called him on his mobile phone and tipped him off, and that he had called police because he felt he had “a moral duty” to warn the authorities.

Geer was released on police bail pending further investigation, with a subsequent forensic examination of Geer’s mobile phone by BTP’s Hi-Tech Crime Unit confirming he hadn’t received a call from anyone prior to him dialling 999.

As a result, he was re-interviewed by detectives in May and admitted the offence when this fact was put to him.

Detective Constable Mark Agrippa, of British Transport Police (BTP), said: “Bomb hoaxes are a very serious issue, with the potential to cause massive disruption to the rail network. Fortunately, BTP has a tried and tested system in place for dealing with them so as to cause minimum disruption whilst ensuring public and staff safety.

“Hoax callers such as Geer place waste considerable police time and place an immense strain on all emergency services, diverting much-needed resources from other duties.

“As in this case, we will always thoroughly investigate bomb hoaxes in order to bring those involved to justice.”