Quick thinking police foil hoax bomb threat at resort supermarket

Quick thinking police officers managed to foil a hoax bomb threat at a resort supermarket without causing mass panic.

The Champion can exclusively reveal how officers from Southport Neighbourhood Police acted quickly to trace a call from a resort man who had dialled 999 to say that there was a bomb at the Southport ASDA superstore.

The incident happened on Monday, February 8.

However when officers traced the number they found it to belong to 48-year-old John Wright, who suffers from mental health issues and was already known to police.

Mr Wright was visited by a social care worker who confirmed with him that the incident was indeed a hoax and there was no bomb, in the process managing to avoid a mass panic at the popular supermarket.

Thousands of shoppers visit the Central 12 ASDA supermarket, which is open 24 hours, each day. It is not known at what time exactly the hoax call was made.

Following the incident, Wright was taken to see his doctor at the Hesketh Centre where, during another incident, he became irate and threw a wooden chair at a glass panel causing it to crack.

The full incident was made public during a court hearing at Liverpool Community Justice Centre last week where Wright was sentenced to three months in jail, suspended for 12 months, and judges ordered that he participate with six months of mental health treatment.

Solicitor Nick Archer said: “Clearly, Mr Wright was not well at the time,” he said. “He has very little contact with his mother and she persuaded him to take his medication. He has not taken it on this occasion. He is genuinely sorry for what happened.”

The court also heard that Wright’s father had now had a restraining order issued against him during the same hearing.

Wright took a hammer to his dad’s Peugeot 307 on March 19 out of anger over an alleged incident from the past.

He smashed the rear window and rear lights, and damaged body work.

Ali Sarwar, prosecuting, as Wright appeared for sentencing for criminal damage, said that he disposed of the hammer in a public bin near to the war memorial and that he was picked up on Lord Street soon afterwards.

Reading from a victim impact statement, he said the father was now fearful that his son was going to cause him harm.

“His aggression and hatred of me and have left me very upset and shaken,” the statement said, “I am now more scared than ever and believe that he will genuinely harm me. I am living in fear of him and feel that I have to defend myself.

“I’ve stopped going out locally and I have changed my phone number. I used to enjoy going around. The constant allegations have been upsetting and heart breaking.”

Mr Sarwar informed the court that Mr Wright’s father has had a heart bypass and has panic attacks. “He does not need the stress,” the prosecutor said.

District Judge Richard Clancy sentenced Wright to three months in jail, suspended for 12 months, and ordered that he participate with six months of mental health treatment. Making him pay compensation of £150 to both his father and the Hesketh Centre, he also imposed a three-year restraining order against his dad.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said, “Your dad has come to the end of his tether. He is not a well man and he cannot continue with this pressure.

“I appreciate that you have said sorry but you must appreciate that he has got his life to lead and he is not well. This simply has to stop.”


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