Prison term after hoax call

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Police searched the River Bann for a mile and a half after a Lurgan man made an emergency call saying a man had gone into the river, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Friday.

Ian Roland (46), Glenfield Road, Lurgan, admitted two charges of improper use of a telecommunications system on November 2, 2013.

For each offence he was sentenced to four months in prison.

The court heard that on November 2, 2013, at 7.50am the ambulance service received a 999 call from the defendant saying he had cut his wrists. When they attended they found it was only a superficial injury.

At 1.45pm a call was made claiming there was a man in the River Bann.

Concerned for the safety of the person police searched for a mile and a half along the river.

Police went to the home of the defendant and he admitted making the calls to the ambulance service.

Roland, who appeared in court by way of videolink from Maghaberry prison, had been in custody since June 25 after being arrested on a warrant.

A solicitor representing the defendant said he had made admissions from the outset.

She explained that Roland had mental health issues and his brother had been very supportive of him.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said that searching a river for a mile and a half put officers’ lives at risk, particularly on a major river like the Bann.

He felt this offence was very serious because of the level of inconvenience, risk of harm and the expense.

Judge Bates said, given the defendant’s record, the custody threshold was crossed and there were reservations about Roland’s ability to complete community service because of his issues with alcohol and mental health.