Knaresborough bomb hoax: Leeds man, 23, jailed for four years

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A convicted drug dealer from Leeds who brought Knaresborough to a standstill by claiming staff at a pizza takeaway in the town were making a bomb has been given a four-year jail sentence by a judge.

Shamsul Islam, 23, currently serving an eight year prison sentence for drug offences, was sentenced after admitting three charges of communicating a bomb hoax in October last year.

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During the hearing at York Crown Court today he was jailed for three-and-a-half years for the hoax calls and six months for perverting the course of justice, to run consecutively. This sentence will begin after his eight year sentence for drug offences ends.

His brother, Habibul Islam, 22, of Spencer Place, Leeds, had admitted perverting the course of justice and making a false statement to obtain insurance after producing his insurance details to the police to cover his brother’s driving offences and giving a false address.

He was given a six month jail term for perverting the course of justice and a further six month jail term for fraud, both to run at the same time and suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

On October 16 last year Shamsul Islam falsely claimed that Islamist fundamentalists were using Paragon Pizza in High Street, Knaresborough, for bomb making and planned to plant a bomb that night.

North Yorkshire Police sent teams of armed officers to the scene, shut off part of the town centre and ordered everyone to stay indoors, including children at a school in the area, arrested the innocent staff at the takeaway and searched them and the premises.

The operation, which began mid-afternoon, was so big officers had to be taken away from their work elsewhere in the county and lasted for hours until the all-clear was given after 8pm.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Crime Unit, said: “These bomb threats, which as it transpired were hoaxes, required a rapid and dynamic deployment of a large number of local and specialist police resources to deal with what was, based on the information available at that time, a credible threat and danger to the public.

“The threat inevitably resulted in concerns, anxiety and considerable disruption to the local communities as roads were closed off and crime scenes cordoned off.

“The business at Paragon Pizza was disrupted and I repeat my thanks to the proprietor and staff for their patience and the way they worked with North Yorkshire Police to return to normality as quickly as was reasonably possible and safe to do so, which in any event took a number of hours.

“Officers from the Major Crime Unit subsequently carried out a tenacious investigation involving a number of experts to help bring those responsible to justice quickly.

“At times of national and international security concerns, I hope those responsible reflect on the seriousness of their actions and their prosecution acts as a deterrent to others who contemplate making similar hoax calls.”

North Yorkshire Police say the Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, commended the force’s Major Crime Analyst, Richard Wilson, for the clarity of the evidence provided. He also said that the steps taken by North Yorkshire Police to protect the public were impressive.