Cider-drinking hoaxer caused terror alert

Wigan town centre - terror alert hoax
Wigan town centre - terror alert hoax

A DRUNK hoaxer caused a terror alert after making a 999 call claiming there was a bomb planted in Wigan town centre.

William Nicolson had been drinking cider and was wearing an offensive T-shirt when he made the call, which resulted in responding officers searching through bins for an explosive.

The 44-year-old pleaded guilty at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court for creating the false emergency and will return to court for sentencing. He said he was so intoxicated that he had no recollection of the phone call.

He had consumed a three litre bottle of cider and had spent “most of the day drinking” on September 30, the court heard.

When he made the call, Nicolson, of Upper St Stephen Street, Whelley, was wearing a “distinctive yellow T-shirt” emblazoned with the logo “If your God approves of suicide bombers, then my God thinks your God is a ****.”

Karen Schofield, defending, said: “Obviously it is a concern that the offence is committed while intoxicated.

“It is unfair to suggest that his shirt had any bearing on what happened in making the call.

“He had been talking with another male while he was drinking about the war and it must have been on his mind.”

Carl Gaffney, prosecuting, told the court he did not need to outline the implications of the “distress and panic” the hoax call could have caused to the general public and the emergency services if it had not been as resolved as swiftly as it was.

He said: “That he had been drinking is not a mitigating factor, it is a contributory factor.”

Ms Schofield said Nicolson had a drink problem which had been exacerbated by the recent death of his brother.

When played the audio of the call following his arrest, the defendant had no recollection of what he said although he accepted it was him, she added.

Ms Schofield told the court: “He hung his head during his interview, he is remorseful and regrets what he did.

“But he would still not be able to tell you what he said.”

Nicolson was granted unconditional bail by the bench and will return to Liverpool Crown Court on October 31 for sentencing.