Grandmother, 61, sparks chaos as she reports ‘bomb threat’ in Christmas Eve hoax

A woman told a store manager on Christmas Eve and claimed there were two bombs hidden inside in a hoax call.

The store was evacuated, with staff and shoppers ordered out while the store was closed and searched, causing £5,000 of losses during the two hours the store was closed.

Cheryl Nolan, of Stone Barton Close in Plympton, appeared at Plymouth Crown Court where she pleaded guilty to one count of sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress on December 24, 2018, Plymouth Live reports.

Prosecutor Kelly Scrivener told the court that the store manager of the Home Bargains store in Banbury, Oxfordshire was called on Christmas Eve at around 11.30 am and Nolan told them that two bombs were hidden in the store before she hung up.

Nolan was quickly traced despite her phone number being withheld but when police first interviewed her four days later she denied it.

However, they interrogated her phone and cell site analysis revealed that the call did come from her.

During an interview with police, she revealed that her granddaughter worked at the store and had experienced "some employment difficulties".

She told police that she knew about workers' rights and had intended making a phone call to the store "to set them right about working time directives and conditions of employment".

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However, Ms Scrivener explained that Nolan never mentioned these issues in her call to the store, only stating that there were two bombs in the store.

In mitigation, advocate Francesca Whebell said her client's offence went back a number of years and that Nolan suffered a number of health concerns, including "chronic mental health problems" and agoraphobia.

Judge William Mousley QC handed Nolan a conditional discharge for two years and ordered her to pay the victim surcharge.

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