A man has been given a suspended prison sentence after claiming that voices in his head told him to carry out a bomb hoax at Sunderland railway station.
Ian Parkin brought the city centre station to a standstill during the evening rush hour on a Thursday in May, magistrates heard.
The 33-year-old has previously served lengthy prison sentences for similar hoaxes, the court was told.
Parkin was sentenced to two and a half years behind bars after a similar bomb hoax in 2006, and following earlier incidents in 1999 and 2000, he was jailed for six years.
“At just after 6pm on May 7, a 999 call was made to the police from a telephone box in the railway station,” said prosecutor Paul Anderson.
“It was as simple as ‘there is a bomb in the station’.”
A 999 call was made to the police from a telephone box in the railway station. It was as simple as ‘there is a bomb in the station’Prosecutor Paul Anderson
By the time officers arrived, Parkin had vanished.
However, CCTV showed him leaving a nearby bookmaker’s before entering the phonebox.
Parkin’s picture was circulated, and he was arrested after stealing a pack of razors from the Wilko department store on Friday, May 15.
He told police he had taken diazepam and cannabis and could not remember the incident.
“Later that day, he told them he remembered doing it and claimed he’d heard voices in his head telling him to do it,” Mr Anderson added.
British Transport Police confirmed that though train services were not affected by the hoax, the area had to be cordoned off while scenes-of-crime officers searched the station.
Parkin, of Hudson Road, Hendon, Sunderland, admitted communicating false information and theft.
Chris Wilson, defending, said Parkin suffers from a personality disorder and is undergoing psychiatric treatment, adding that he is remorseful for what he did.
He was given a 20-week prison sentence suspended for two years.
Parkin was also ordered to pay £345 in costs.