Cruel hoax callers jailed
Brothers sentenced after ‘cruel prank’
Two brothers from Leeds, who made a hoax call to the police in October 2013 sparking a major security operation, were sentenced at York Crown Court earlier this week.
23-year-old Shamsul Islam was previously found guilty of three charges of communicating a bomb hoax, claiming staff at the Paragon Pizza takeaway, in Knaresborough, were posing an ‘immediate threat to members of the public’.
Already serving an eight year prison sentence for unrelated drug offences, Islam was handed a further three-and-a-half year jail term for the calls and six months for perverting the course of justice.
Shamsul’s brother, Habibul Islam, 22, of Spencer Place, Leeds, was also handed a six month prison sentence for perverting the course of justice and a further six month jail term for fraud. He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.
On 16th October 2013, Knaresborough’s main high street was temporarily shut down by armed police who detained all staff at the takeaway.
After thorough searches of the establishment and questioning of each staff member, it was deemed that the reported threat was a hoax.
Speaking previously to the Asian Express, Paragon Pizza owner, Razaul Karim, said he suffered from mental anxiety following the incident.
Describing the event, he said: “When I pulled into Knaresborough, the High Street had been cordoned off and before I knew it there were armed officers pointing their guns at me shouting ‘keep your hands on the wheel’.
“They handcuffed me in my car and told me my business was being searched because they had reports saying we had ‘ammunition’ and ‘gun powder’ on our premises. I was terrified.”
The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, commended North Yorkshire Police's Major Crime Analyst, Richard Wilkinson for the clarity of the evidence provided in the case against the Islam brothers.
He also said that the steps taken by North Yorkshire Police to protect the public were impressive.
Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, of North Yorkshire Police's Major Crime Unit, added: “These bomb threats, which as it transpired were hoaxes, required a rapid and dynamic deployment of a large number of local and specialist police resources to deal with what was, based on the information available at that time, a credible threat and danger to the public.
“The threat inevitably resulted in concerns, anxiety and considerable disruption to the local communities as roads were closed off and crime scenes cordoned off.
“The business at Paragon Pizza was disrupted and I repeat my thanks to the proprietor and staff for their patience and the way they worked with North Yorkshire Police to return to normality as quickly as was reasonably possible and safe to do so, which in any event took a number of hours.
“Officers from the Major Crime Unit subsequently carried out a tenacious investigation involving a number of experts to help bring those responsible to justice quickly.
“At times of national and international security concerns, I hope those responsible reflect on the seriousness of their actions and their prosecution acts as a deterrent to others who contemplate making similar hoax calls.”