Hoaxer sparked armed police emergency

Exterior of Bobby's Food and Wines shop, Worsley Green, Pemberton
Exterior of Bobby's Food and Wines shop, Worsley Green, Pemberton

A WIGAN man who caused a major police alert with a malicious 999 call in order to get locked up has been spared jail.

Liam Christopher Corless was responsible for sending specialist firearms officers rushing to a Pemberton off-licence after calling in that it was in the middle of an armed robbery.

Earlier the 23-year-old had warned former partner Levi Cooper that he would give Greater Manchester Police a reason to remand him if she threw him out of their home.

Police were able to easily trace the caller who made the malicious call about a supposed incident at Bobby’s Food and Wine in Worsley Green, Pemberton, because he had used his own mobile.

Corless, of Smethurst Farm Mews in Pemberton, admitted sending a false message by public phone to cause nuisance and anxiety.

He also pleaded guilty to using threatening and abusive words and behaviour in Wigan on July 1.

Wigan and Leigh magistrates ordered that he complete a year-long community order including 200 hours’ unpaid work.

They also granted Miss Cooper a 12-month restraining order against Corless who must also make an £85 contribution towards the costs of prosecution, plus pay a £60 victim surcharge.

Mike Ardern, prosecuting, said that Corless had been in relationship with Miss Cooper and the couple had two children.

On July 1 she sent him out to buy some trainers he said he needed but instead he returned home empty-handed before admitting he had spent the money on a “legal high” instead.

A furious argument developed about his past drug use which eventually saw Miss Cooper order him out of the house. He warned her that if he had nowhere to live he would commit a crime of sufficient gravity - he specifically threatened to rob the nearby Bobby’s Food and Wine - that would then see him kept in the cells awaiting prosecution.

Miss Cooper, said Mr Ardern, then claimed Corless threatened that while in custody he could arrange to have her face disfigured with acid or “get someone to rape me or kill me so that he would get the kids.”

Later that day he made the call to police, in the name of Matthew Stevens, telling a 999 emergency operator that an armed robbery was in progress at Bobby’s.

Mr Ardern said: “The police took the message seriously and issued an appropriate response to a potentially serious incident.

“They sent officers as soon as they could get there to the scene and only realised that it was in fact a hoax call and there was no armed robbery taking place as they entered the premises.

“Because the call was made on a mobile it was a comparatively simple matter to trace it to Corless.” Andrew Stock, defending, said that Corless had been massively affected by being on bail for a more serious charge due to be heard at crown court at the end of next month.

He said: “Everything was becoming too much to cope with, he began to argue with his partner and then acted with a great degree of immaturity.

“It should never have happened - and he knows that.

“He acknowledges that he should never have made that call to the police because they could well have been dealing with a more important issue at the time and resources then had to be diverted.

“It is something that, with the benefit of hindsight, he now acknowledges should never have happened.

“He found himself in an argument with his partner that escalated out of all proportion.

“Mr Corless accepts he made inappropriate and offensive comments to her but strongly denies using the words complained of or making any specific threats to her.”