Man’s ‘elaborate hoax’ sparked security alert at PSNI Station

A Rasharkin man sparked a security alert at Ballymena PSNI Station after naming a police officer and falsely claiming there was a bomb under his vehicle.

Eugene O’Boyle (32), of Glebe Park, admitted charges of communicating false information that a ‘bomb’ was liable to explode; wasting police time and possession of cannabis.

A prosecution lawyer told Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday that police received a call on February 11 last year alleging an explosive device was attached to the vehicle of the named officer “of Ballymena PSNI”.

The call then ended but ten minutes later a second phone call was made in which the caller stated: “If the bomb device doesn’t go off underneath his car he will be called to a domestic incident and will be shot in the head”.

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The prosecutor said police took the threat seriously and put a cordon around the vehicle at Ballymena Police Station and tasked an “explosives dog to clear the vehicle”.

The prosecution lawyer said he had no details as to whether the station had to be evacuated but the threat turned out to be an “elaborate hoax”.

He said it was estimated in terms of wasted time the incident cost over £2,600.

The court heard both calls came from the same number which was linked to the defendant and at O’Boyle’s home police rang the number which caused his phone on a table to ring. The defendant told police when arrested: “I thought warning police was a good thing.”

During a search of O’Boyle’s home a cannabis joint was found.

A defence barrister said the police custody record showed that when O’Boyle had called police he had “identified himself”.

The lawyer said the defendant had been the subject of “harassment in the community” resulting from a “false allegation made against him” and he had felt he had not been getting an “adequate response” from police. The barrister said he “presumed” the named constable had been involved in that investigation.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said: “It may well have been somewhat amateurish but if you are a serving police officer, your car is parked at the station, and someone rings in to say there is a bomb under it and then rings in again to say he is going to be shot, I think the police have to act appropriately.”

The judge adjourned sentencing until September to see if the defendant will engage with mental health services.