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Doorman jailed after staging bomb hoax to “look like a hero”

A pub doorman who planted a fake bomb in the pub toilets in which he worked and then alerted the police in a bid to be “seen as a hero” has been jailed for 12 months.

Stephen Edward Oliphant, 25, raised the alarm in November 2021 after claiming he found a suspicious device in a toilet basin at the Hat and Feathers pub in Seaham.

The scare saw pubgoers – who had gathered on a busy Friday evening – forced to abandon their drinks as the entire street was cordoned off for several hours on 19 November 2021.

Emergency crews including police, firefighters and paramedics attended the scene at about 21:00 GMT, along with the bomb team, who used specialist robots to carry out checks.

However, they quickly identified that the “device” was in-fact a hoax, made from several items including a bingo dabber.

Forensic analysis showed Oliphant’s DNA on the individual components, more of which were found when his home was later searched in Stanley Street, Houghton-le-Spring.

The 25-year-old denied any involvement, but after being faced with the evidence during a hearing at Durham Crown Court, Oliphant admitted he had planted the item so he could look like a hero.

Appearing in court on Friday, May 12, he pleaded guilty to a charge of a bomb hoax, placing an article with intent and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Detective Constable Drew Davis, who led the investigation for Durham Constabulary, said: “Any report of a potential bomb is extremely worrying for the public and this job was very resource intensive with several agencies involved alongside ourselves to make sure no one came to any harm.

“Oliphant was reckless in planting this ‘device’ and we hope his sentence sends a clear message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated and anyone engaging in this type of crime will be dealt with robustly.”

(Source: Sunderland Echo)

(Image: The Hat and Feathers, via Facebook)

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