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Man arrested after hoax bomb threat

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A 36-year-old man was last night arrested in connection with a hoax bomb threat that brought disruption to the streets of Hamilton.

Magistrates' Court and Hamilton Police Station were yesterday morning evacuated for an hour and nearby streets were cordoned off after an anonymous call to police to warn about “a bomb in the courts.”

Staff and members of the public were ordered out of the buildings and nearby offices after the phone call.

Police and firefighters closed down the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building, Hamilton Police Station and Global House on Church Street.

Officers cordoned off surrounding streets while an inspection was carried out.

The all clear was given at 10.40am and a spokeswoman for the Department of Communications said police had launched a probe to find out who was responsible for the hoax call.

Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, said: “All threats of this nature are taken seriously and as a precaution staff were evacuated from Global House and the Dame Lois Browne-Evans buildings.

“The most important thing is always the safety of staff.

“It is unfortunate that someone would do something so malicious to impact commerce and disrupt not only the courts but the work of everyone in these buildings.”

The hoax call was made to police at 9.24am.

Martin Weekes, Assistant Commissioner of Police, said the potential threat was assessed by the police service's Intelligence Department.

The two neighbouring buildings were later reopened and senior staff, led by the manager of Hamilton Magistrates Court, assessed the court building floor by floor in line with established procedures.

The building was declared safe — in agreement with an officer from the BPS Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit.

Staff were allowed back in before the public was readmitted.

The government statement said the BPS had warned that making “false or malicious calls” is an offence and “that a full investigation is ongoing to identify the person or persons responsible”.

Police closed sections of Court Street and Victoria Street just after 9.30am and traffic was diverted.

A major police presence and a fire engine were stationed at the front of the Dame Lois Browne-Evans building while court staff and members of the public gathered outside.

Police were given the go-ahead to enter the building just before 10am and half an hour later the courthouse was reopened.

Proceedings at the Commercial Court were unaffected by the threat.

It is /The Royal Gazette's policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.

Bomb threat: Jay Donawa, a sporting champion after claiming May 24 glory last year, got busy with his day job as a firefighter when court buildings were evacuated due to a bomb hoax yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Bomb threat: police activity in Parliament Street and Church Street after a bomb threat this morning (Photograph by Simon Jones)
Bomb threat: police on Victoria Street and Parliament Street after a bomb threat at court this morning (Photograph by Lisa Simpson)
Bomb threat: police outside Hamilton Police Station after a bomb threat this morning (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

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Published January 08, 2018 at 9:44 am (Updated January 09, 2018 at 8:23 am)

Man arrested after hoax bomb threat

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