back to article Twitter bomb threat joke man faces possible jail sentence

A Twitter user who posted a "joke" bomb threat against a UK airport could be jailed after pleading guilty to sending a menacing message. Paul Chambers, 26, of Balby, Doncaster, admitted posting an ill-considered message onto Twitter about Robin Hood Airport, South Yorkshire, on 6 January after the airport closed as a result of …


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    Big Brother

    Tinpot Dictators

    What's the use of having authority and power if you can't exercise it?

    If there aren't enough jihadists running around, what better way to feel powerful than to deliberately and purposefully misconstrue the seriousness of a throwaway joke and pound down hard on a soft target.

    Get's the testosterone flowing, so it does! Almost as good as sex!

    Flashmob retweet, anyone? Or are we all too scared? (I am)

    Remind me, who are the terrorists again?

  2. Michael


    title says it all.

    Why would anyone take that seriously?

  3. Robert Grant

    Fail fail fail fail fail

    Fail fail fail fail fail.

  4. David Arno


    Insane story.

    Considered using the hand grenade icon but some idiot police office might interpret it as me sending a menacing message

  5. Lionel Baden

    suspended from work !

    Jeez thats a bit harsh .......

    Sounds like they're jumping on the bandwagon, Bash him makes us look so so moral ....

    *Unless he works at the airport ..

    but then i doubt he would be bitchin about snow :D

  6. AndyS

    For real?

    People. Judges. Police. Politicians. Listen up. It's called a joke. You don't have to laugh, you don't even have to find it funny. But you don't have to go locking people up either.

  7. M Gale


    Prison? The guy's a twit, not a terrorist. As far as I'm aware, the fuckwits who became one with the WTC didn't exactly phone ahead with their plans, did they?

    Bloody hysteria.

    1. No, I will not fix your computer
      Thumb Up


      But Eric Harris did before the Columbine massacre (and numerous other singleton killers did similar things).

      "Chatter", some of which can be very specific, general or even obtuse will usualy precede an actual event, Bush had a daily breifing on Aug 6th 2001 "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US", Bin Laden also held a press conference in 1998 laying out details of his fatwa giving very specific details, the US embassy had anonymous phone calls mid May 2001, so yes "the fuckwits who became one with the WTC didn't exactly phone ahead with their plans, did they?"

      All that said, it's paranoia, not hysteria, it looks like a very measured, calm over-reaction to a bad joke, the reason why humans are paranoid is the same reason that humans are superstitious, it's an evoultionary safety net.

      The powers that be will always over-react, and under-react sometimes, but they won't get the publicity that appropriate reaction gets.

  8. Craig 12


    Madness - that is all that can be said. Have any of the intervening police/court workers got nothing better to do?

    Abusing laws should itself be against the law. As for wasting police time, seems they can manage that themselves...

  9. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    South Yorkshire Police

    Are great. Make a fairly obvious tongue-in-cheek comment on Twitter (the stupidity of said message notwithstanding) and they're right on you, confiscating your laptop and cellphone and ready to throw away the key.

    Have a recurring problem with assholes throwing bricks (and traffic cones last night) at your window, trashing the stuff outside your house and threatening the wife at the same time (within a half hour) every night, and they're nowhere to be seen (6 crime reference numbers in the last 12 days and counting...). At least I can rest assured, whilst the builders' portaloo is trashed yet again, whilst bricks come sailing through the air, that the police are keeping the world safe from people making stupid comments on the net. Hurrah.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Police Response Times

      We have a saying in Barnsley (south yorkshire) where a Pizza / Kebab etc delivery gets to you quicker that the Police.

      1. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!


        I'm sure it depends on the severity of the call for the kebab vs rozzer race. We need to experiment... For a mugging, damage to property, assault, or anything that involves them having to do anything, my money's on the greasy meat (clarification: I mean the kebab by that...). If it's a call about someone taking photos in a built-up area whilst under the influence of excessive tallness, I'm sure the boys in blue would do us proud.

  10. Si 1

    What a waste of tax payers money

    Hey let's prosecute someone for making a joke, even though the prisons are all full and there are plenty of real criminals who should be behind bars. It seems the police are so incapable of catching real crooks these days they're willing to go after people who make bad jokes. How many real terrorists have they actually caught anyway?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge


      Because if they really think he's a real terrorist, they shoot him dead before asking if he's not perchance a plumber.

  11. Ball boy Silver badge

    OTT reaction?

    Okay, so it wasn't clever thing to do. Perhaps it was foolish - but there again, clever people end up taking countries into war so maybe foolish is better for the sake of humanity in general.

    However, he's lost his job over this. Unless he was a security officer, judge or someone who is generally be trusted by others to 'act responsibly', I don't see what his job has to do with this. Say I'm a software engineer - what's it got to do with my employer if I got nicked flashing my bits at The Oval? I'm an 'invisible' employee and it has no impact on my work.

    So, he caused no undue disturbance - that means no one took him seriously yet the weight of the law means that a custodial might follow? Anyone care to explain why?

    They took his PC, iPhone, etc. Gawd help him if they find so much as a _hint_ he's ever looked at pron or anything else (26 year old man? It's a racing certainty there's something on there that breaks someone's moral code).

    I've always worked on the premise that Brits are generally able to distinguish bad comedy from serious comment - what else could possibly explain Roy 'Chubby' Brown's existence - but events like this suggest a rethink is in order.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    *smacks forehead*

    ...for the Love of God...!

    Just in: Exasperated man's twitter post becomes criminal offence..

    I'm sure we've all been there, or am I the only one that thinks this is going towards the Thought-Police...?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't Mess with Football!

  14. dave 81

    The lunatics are running the asylum


    How many more of these stories of the police completely overstepping the mark enforcing stupid laws are we going to take? Tough on non-crimes while the real criminals are let out early to re-offend? Thanks to Tony and Gordon, the police are more interested in chasing stupid arbitrary targets that solving actual crime, and serving the public who pays their wages.

    Personally, I am sick of it. My MP being a snivelling Nulabour see you next Tuesday only represents his party to me instead of representing my views to parliament. Hopefully the next lot will actually listen to voters and rein back this authoritarian fascist police force.


    I feel better now.

  15. Greg D

    honestly, how ridiculous

    The terrorists have won. Plain and simple. If we can do that to an englishman after a twitter post, then what is left for free speech?

    I mean, lets look at this from a pretend scenario... you are an actual terrorist, who wants to blow up this randomly named airport. Why would you ever consider posting this fact on twitter?

    Yes he's a bit of an arse for doing it - but banned from the airport for life? Jail sentence? Suspended from work?? Really? I mean is that absolutely necessary? I will admit I've said stuff like this before on many occasions, but I'd definitely think twice before putting it anywhere on Web2.0. Where were the police spies then?

    There are more deserving people worthy of a jail sentence. Just go out around London on a weekend. Half the drunks you meet should be banged up but always get away with it

    Far as I'm concerned, this is a massive waste of time and money and has very well ruined this guys life. All because we let the terrorists win.

  16. Valerion

    Ah good

    The streets, and airports, are now safe.

    Bonuses all round, chaps. I'll sleep easier tonight for sure.

  17. Seanmon
    Black Helicopters


    Yeah, allright, the guy's been a bit of a donkey. But still - fecking hell!

    Helicopters or BB....?

  18. Jolyon Ralph

    banned from an airport named after a criminal!

    While I agree in general with the idea of sending annoying twitter tits to jail, it does seem a bit excessive in this case.

  19. Seven_Spades
    Thumb Down

    Why plead not guilty?

    I cannot understand why this man pleaded guilty to this.

    It was quite clear that this was not a serious comment and therefore could not possibly be ".grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character"

    I lament at people who buckle under in these circumstances as it allows the authorities to set a very low bar.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Someone may have told him that it wouldn't be all that serious if he just admitted it, and having seen American cop shows he believed them.

    2. Mr Young
      Thumb Up

      I can make a guess with the understand?

      Maybe if he pled not guilty they'd make an even bigger example of him? After it's been established the silly tweeting twat is no threat (which I'd bet on) he should be sent on his way. It does seem totally unnecessary to ruin his life!

  20. criscros

    epic fail

    If he were a real terrorist he'd DEFINITELY be talking about it on twitter, no doubt. That's what real terrorists do, of course!

  21. Andrew_F


    Surely a moron in a hurry wouldn't mistake that for actual menace, even of the Dennis kind.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    This is called ...

    Thought Control.

    To have you policing your own opinions, and thoughts, and thereby adopting a deep seated defensive, intimidated posture towards government - while the powerful use anti-terror to increase their private wealth, and exercise their social predjudices.

    If there's a Pledge to support this guy, I'm in for 100 quid.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps ill considered but

    What a seriously sad state this country is in if it's come to this. The filth and friends seem far more obsessed with being seen to be doing something, rather than actually doing something useful. The real tragedy is that they no longer seem to know the difference. A stiff chat with the bloke would seem to be quite enough, if even necessary. Doubtless some pompous little arse thinks he's "sending a message", although anyone who is prone to this sort of thing would miss it in any case.

    Do none of these exalted officials ever try looking from the outside in and see what a waste of space they collectively look?

  24. David Edwards

    Arrest Morrisey

    I have reason to believe he intends to burn down a disco and may well try to hang the DJ

  25. Alastair Rae


    I thought you Brits were famous for your sense of humour and your common sense. When did you lose them?

    1. dave 81

      When people began to vote for NuLiebour

      Tony and Gord created a climate of fear to pass their commie laws and taxes. And it worked. The British public were duped and just let it happen, and voted them in two more times.

      Sadly there is still no shortage of those willing to vote for them, most out of ignorance, some out of spite, and the rest because they can't stand the Tories.

      Democracy is dead. Long live democracy!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ... it all started around May 1997, when our desperation to get rid of the tories got the better of us. After that; just plain downhill.

  26. Daniel Bennett
    Thumb Up

    Just tweeted

    I just tweeted the exact tweet.

    Awaiting to be arrested x

    1. Alfie Noakes

      Hope i got the right Daniel Bennett, but...

      "This person has protected their tweets."

      Coward ;-)

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Fail writ large.

    I also like the "has been banned from Robin Hood Airport for life". Irony applied with a hot iron. Honestly, getting hit worse for a (very publicised) failure of judgement over a travel annoyance than many a hardened repeat offending criminal for what they do out of sheer bloody mindedness seems a tad unfair. It also shows oh so very clearly the terrorist panic is still in full swing with both the airports and the justice system, robbing them of their common sense.

    I'd say, have the man publicly retract his tweet and apologise for alarm caused. Then have the airport and the CPS retract the bans and sentences and have them publicly apologise for undue harm done. If they don't they let linger thought police allegations they have yet to answer for.

    Both deserve each other's apologies. Other sanctions merely show ``the system'' to be the sore loser (with undue market power), failing its citizenry. Carry on government.

  28. Adam Foxton


    Why's he an arse or an idiot or whatever for doing it?

    It's not like he's a public figure, so the only people- if any- following his Twitter page would be his friends and / or family. Have none of you ever said in an idle moment "Damn Firstbus... Seriously, when that bus arrives I'm going to fscking throttle the driver!" or anything similar? By the same token that should get you locked up for threatening this guy's life- even though you've got no intention of killing him? You- and those who hear you say it- know that you'll just jump on the bus when it arrives an hour late, pay your arm and leg and go stand in a puddle of someone elses' dried sick all the way home.

    If he was a public figure or a well known vocal supporter of suicide bombers then fair enough be a bit wary. You've got to wonder who the bloody hell forwarded Robin Hood airport that tweet!

  29. Jim 59


    Agreed - it is madness. A real threat would never be made in the manner of a joke.

  30. Skrrp
    Black Helicopters

    Public domain?

    So, this tweet will have been submitted to the court as evidence. Court records are in the public domain.

    This should make the court guilty of posting "a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character" to the public domain.

    But it's ok if they do it?

    Also tweeted it myself. Not expecting to be arrested but it would show the insanity that this country has become if anything comes of it.

  31. M H

    Where did the sense of humour go?

    Erm... South Yorkshire Police used to have a sense of humour.. the station next to the Robin Hood Airport is on a road called Letsby Avenue:

    What happened to them since then??

  32. Graham Marsden

    Police confiscated his iPhone, laptop and home computer.

    ... and we can probably shortly expect "smear" charges of him being suspected of having kiddie porn/ extreme porn/ dangerous drawings as well which will serve no other purpose than an attempt to taint his name in the public consciousness in the hope that it will make people think that the authorities were right to grossly over-react...

  33. Mike Cardwell


    It is impossible to interpret what was written as an actual threat. Whoever reported it is an utter c**t, and the people who took the report seriously should be sacked for gross incompetence and staggering ineptitude. W**kers.

  34. heyrick Silver badge

    F**k me, you mean somebody takes Twitter seriously?

    (title says it all)

    Though prison is a bit harsh for a grossly miscalculated "joke". Perhaps they want to be seen to be doing something and it was an easy cop given the digital cookie crumbs led right too him. After all, their success in finding terrorists other ways (strip-scan, anyone?) has been less effective... gotta make the stats look good, and after all, if he didn't intend to blow the place up, he wouldn't have said it...


  35. Andy Hards
    IT Angle

    For the love of God.

    Complete lack of common sense all round it seems. I work as cabin crew for a well known airline and you get the odd remark. Once I had a man who was a bit pissed off as it was taking a while for him to get a cup of tea so he said, "I bet if I said I had a bomb I'd get a cup of tea quicker." Now this was a stupid thing to say on a plane post 9/11 but I knew he didn't have a bomb, well I didn't know for sure but I was pretty sure he didn't. I said to him though that it was s tupid thing to say and he realised pretty quick that it was a very stupid thing to say. If he had said it at the security gate though he would have been rushed off to a small room and had his bags gone over inch by inch, then he would have been nicked, charged and fined a lot of money and the papers would have reported it and he might have lost his job. They have a total lack of tollerance for those sorts of comments.

    If I had been a moron and wanted to ruin the mans life, I could have done but it would have meant the plane would have been immediately diverted, the man nicked as a suspected terrorist and I would have not got home for my own tea until much much much later so I took the comment for what it was, an idiotic remark from someone who wasn't really thinking what they were saying before they said it.

    So what I'm saying in a round about way is that context and common sense should play a much larger part in instances like these but unfortunately in many cases they are blown out of all proportion to discourage any other know heads from doing and saying the same things.

    My god, what a waste of time, money, prison space, legal fees, etc etc etc

  36. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    In the light of 7/7, how would *you* handle it?

    I'm in two minds about this, on the one hand, in the light of 7/7, I suspect the authorities have to take every potential threat, however ridiculous, as a potential hazard.

    I can imagine the relevant authorities groaning and moaning about having to haul this guy in, but are acting under the strictest protocols - "we cannot afford another 7/7" "No matter how ridiculous the threat appears, we have to take it seriously"

    The guy is an idiot for posting what he did. Some things you just *don't* joke about publicly - whether you think it stupid or not, it's obvious the authorities can't ignore a threat, no matter how innocuous it may seem...

    would you want to call the relatives of the victims of another 7/7 ?

    would you want to explain to the country "we thought he was just joking?" after he blows himself up in an airport?

    On the other side, I think a possible jail sentence is downright ridiculous - give the guy a fine, a slap on the wrist and send him home.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Down

      How would I handle it...?

      ... Well, first tell me, did the 7/7 bombers or anyone else publically announce exactly what they were going to do before they did it?

      And please, spare us the guilt trip "would you want to call the relatives?" nonsense. Would you want to tell the relatives of someone who'd been knocked down by a drunk driver? Would you want to tell someone they had cancer? Those are much more likely than a) such an attack happening again or b) those intending to carry it out telling everyone about it.

      1. Annihilator


        "Well, first tell me, did the 7/7 bombers or anyone else publically announce exactly what they were going to do before they did it?"

        Indirectly, yes -

        Bear in mind that not all terrorists are looking to kill. I'm not so young as to recall that during the times when the IRA etc were active, warnings were often given, such in the case of the Manchester bombing and the Docklands bombing.

        If nothing else, you can charge him with wasting police time, as buy most people's admission the police have had to assess the credibility of the threat.

      2. No, I will not fix your computer


        Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad announced that "Al Qaeda Europe", was on the verge of launching a big operation, the US also had "intel that a tube bombing was going to take place", the Mossad office in London got a warning six minutes before the first bomb went off.

        In addition to these documented actual warnings MI5 had their eye on one of the bombers and there are unconfirmed reports about other warnings.

        Perhaps if MI5 "over reacted", detained and interogated Mohammad Sidique Khan rather than ignoring him when they had suspicions then 7/7 may not have happened?

        So yes, imagine there is one specific person respobsible for ignoring Mohammad Sidique Khan, what would he say to the families of the 50+ dead, maybe the person who read the twitter joke thought "if this has any truth then I better act or people could die" if it's just a joke then one man will suffer for being a twat, looks like a joke to me but I'm not going to take any responsibility for people dying.

    2. Mark 65

      Get real

      Wind your neck in and stop pandering to this New Labour pc security hysteria bullshit.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      erck "oooo think of the last incident would you want to be the one?" Blah blah blah. Is in the same catagory as "we can't take the risk" "if it saves one life" "think of the children" "nothing to hide!" Authorities have to take risks otherwise they waste most of their resources chasing their own tails.

      You will get another "7/7" no matter how many idiots you ruin, why? Becouse it's the smart and lucky ones that go on to commit effective terrorist acts.

      Things like this only make success more likely, so much information is being absorbed that real threats slip past with little problem (pants bomber).

      Unfortunatly there are too many terrified children in this country who jump at every single little thing, live with it, your life is unimportant and it is quite likely nothing interesting will ever happen to you, your family or friends.

      The terrified children problem is also coupled with the "someone has to be blaimed, witchhunt" that we see quite well in the Baby P case, and most terrorism events.

      Another thing people seem to fail to realise, is that we don't live in a particularly dangerous country. I don't see gangs armed with AK's fighting heavily armoured police in a drug war, or religious extremists beheading teachers, or soldiers on the street, bombs being dropped, riots in the streets, children recruited into militias, or any other of the terrible things that happen around the world. We'd like to make believe we're in somekind of deadly situation but the facts of the matter is you've got very little to worry about.

  37. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Talking of prosecutions...

    Is anyone going to be prosecuted over the huge waste of public money that this represents?

  38. Anonymous Coward

    But then...

    I guess if he just planned to steal all the cash from Robin Hood airport and give it to the poor, he'd be in the clear.

  39. Richard IV
    Black Helicopters

    Graduated response

    It's somewhat ironic that the UK intertubes are up in arms about a graduated response with regards filesharing (hint: it's the burden of proof that's the bigger problem), yet a blatant failure in suitably grading a response by South Yorks police force has the UK intertubes up in arms...

    As this (virtual) rag (and lesbian magazine) has noted many times in the past, "humour" doesn't translate very well once one throws attention deficit into the milieu as the innernet does by default. Granted, a sane person would look at it, snort at the tiny following and overall banality of the other tweets, and move on. These are not sane times however, and I have to say I'm surprised that this didn't result in a general dragnet on Twitter and Stephen Fry being dragged off to Belmarsh amid accusations that he was contemplating doing something unspeakable to an iPad.

    I do wonder, though, whether said airport even attempted to "get their shit together" to avoid the terror, or whether they stuck to's standard "we do not negotiate with terrorists (except when they are a national government and BAE are out for a contract)" terms of reference.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Bomb scares, 80's terrorism

    How quickly is it forgotten how terrorism worked not so long ago. Terrorism works on many levels, from bomb scares, to attacks with warnings, all the way to attack with no warnings (although you could argue there are indirect warnings generally made).

    Fair enough, I think everyone can accept that he didn't intend to carry out the threat. What if he'd emailed this instead of tweeted it? What if he emailed it to the airport? What if he phoned the airport and said this? What if he ran into the terminal and shouted it? Where's the line?

    Consider it from the other alternative - a man blows up an airport, Daily Mail finds that he had threatened to do so a week ago on Twitter.

    The flameproof one please. With the AC cover.

    1. Tim Brown 1

      the phrase you're looking for is...

      credible threat.

      The line you're talking about is a long, long, way off in the distance.

    2. Brezin Bardout

      re: Bomb scares, 80's terrorism

      I think everyone, apart from you, the police and magistrates maybe, can accept that it wasn't actually a threat but a joke. Not everything should be taken literally, and if someone cannot differentiate between something like this, that obviously shouldn't be taken seriously, and something more sinister then they really have no place working for the police or the courts.

  41. mark l 2 Silver badge

    fooking cps

    Surely as the CPS are a government body they are accountable for their actions and they are only supposed to prosecute if its in the public interest. I hardly see how this is in the public interest and nothing that a police caution couldn't have dealt with.

    Dunno if a FOI request can be submitted asking why they believe that its in the public interest to prosecute someone for a clearly joke comment

  42. Anonymous Coward


    Is it too late for him to withdraw his plea and insist on a jury trial?

    That's what juries are supposed to be for - to prevent the authorities from taking things to excess.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not necessarily a safeguard...

      Jury trials aren't always all they're cracked up to be either.

      I did jury service about 30 years ago. It took us all day and part of the next to decide that we didn't feel there was enough evidence for a safe conviction.

      In contrast, a close neighbour of mine did jury service last year. After the trial, we all asked how he'd got on. He said they'd found the defendant guilty in about 5 minutes flat - no point in wasting any more time.

      Why guilty?

      "Well ... I mean ... stands to reason don't it? The police wouldn't have arrested him if he hadn't been guilty !!"

      FFS with knobs on...

      1. Mark 65

        Jury selection

        If your close neighbour and their cohorts formed a "jury of their peers" then the person in the dock must have been as thick as sh1t.

        Here's for being able to actually select a jury of your peers - IQ test mandatory in this day and age.

    2. Graham Marsden


      He has admitted posting the message, but that is *not* the same as pleading guilty to "sending, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character".

      It is up to the prosecution to *prove* that his message was "of a menacing character", which is unlikely given that the prosecutor admits he "never intended the message to be received by the airport or for them to take it seriously".

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Robin Hood... wasn't he a...

    Am I right in saying that the airport in question was named after the very Robin Hood who (allegedly) killed many of the local law enforcers and terrorised the high ranking government officials? Remind me, what do today's law enforcers call that kind of person again?

    Whoever decided that this should get to the point where the man's entire life is ruined (and forget flying to the USA and probably others for any reason, from any airport, ever, with that on your record) should ask themself if they have ever, EVER said anything of the same nature, just a casual, off-the-cuff remark. Next time kids knock at my door and run off, remind me not to shout 'I'll kill those bl**dy kids' because if anyone hears me I presume I'll be banged up for issuing a death threat. Police, CPS, airport, his employers... all FAIL.

  44. fred #257
    Big Brother

    You're all GUILTY

    ... the entire freaking lot of you - of making highly offensive and derogatory comments about the proper authorities and showing sympathy for a suspected terrorist. You do realise, do you not, that this wretched man's comment on the Internet constitutes a criminal offence and yet here are all of you doing exactly the same thing. And your subversive comments can and will be traced back to you.

    What on earth gives any of you the idea that you can say what you like in a public forum? That is the sole prerogative of MPs, and properly authorised spokesdroids. Permitting common citizens to do so would result in anarchy and we of the Thought Police will not tolerate it.

    Our agents will be calling to interview you. Do not attempt to resist.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Coming to something....

    ... when all we need in this country to bring the law into even further disrepute are the police and the judiciary...

    Do these people have a gene missing or something?

  46. Tim Brown 1

    On the other hand...

    if I happened to be a real web-2.0-enlightened terrorist and wanted to let my terrorist mates know to go ahead with our plan via Twitter so posted "deliver the package to the airport at 6pm next Monday as arranged" I assume the authorities wouldn't be interested, cos that's a 'normal' thing to say...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or even....

      ...Wound my heart with a monotonous languor?

      Trying to monitor communications for open-language phrases has been a complete mugs' game for as long as we've had telephone and radio. The waste of resources by people who couldn't catch common cold, let alone terrorists, must be colossal.

    2. wayfarer


      Real terrorists wouldn't even mention the airport. It would be "Tea at Aunties at 4pm" or something. And 4pm might easily be a code for quite a different time. Almost impossible to deal with unless tapping the comms of known terrorists.

      The 'security theatre' in operation here - in an area where the response to real crime is woeful - is the kind of joke that must have terrorists laughing their socks off.

  47. Anonymous Coward


    Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      That's easy for you to say....

  48. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Didn't Britain defeat the fascists in 1945?

    Didn't people die for their freedom?

    This is very concerning.

  49. Peter Hood

    PC BS

    The police have to grow up and outgrow the nanny state, it won't persist beyond the next election with any luck. Whomsoever perpetrated this BS ought to be carpeted an disciplined by someone with more than half a brain. This story rates at least two snowballs:


  50. Peter Hood

    Policing endangered by PC legislation

    The current example of stupidity is reminiscent of the one below:

    Someone with a brain really ought to be given the responsibility for a) legislation and b) policing. Either that or a machine gun policy for firing idiots, especially corrupt idiot politicians.

  51. Tommy Pock

    If this bloke is convicted...

    ...I'm going to go up there and blow Robin Hood airport sky high. And Robin Hood's bay, that'll teach 'em. I might even pour paint on bits of Filey as well.

    1. Jimmy 1

      Fawkes sake.

      While you're at it could you paint a rainbow in the sky. Just as a sign of better things to come in this benighted nation.

      Are we still permitted to mention that old rascal, Guy Fawkes, without fear of prosecution?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      You'd be doing the place a favour...

  52. Law

    he sounds like a tw*t

    ... but he doesn't deserve prison time - I'm not sure how he can be potentially sent to jail for an obviously stupid statement on twitter, yet the scum of the earth who commit real crimes get a slap on the wrist and sent out to commit more burglary, assaults and murder daily.

    *realises rant wouldn't be out of place in the daily mail*


  53. Richard Jukes


    He's guilty, people need to come to terms with the very simple fact that what is said on the internet DOES count. They should also come to terms with the fact that libel and defamation also exists on the internet.

    It is no good giving people free reign to do/say what ever they want without also highlighting to them that they need to take responsability about what is said. How would you feel if a newspaper had printed it in its letters columns?

    The internet is just another medium and laws still apply, libel, defamation and threats all have the same weight on the net as off the net.

    The power and freedom that comes with the internet being a publishing model for all - also has its obligations to common sense and accountability.

    1. max allan

      I think you missed the point

      "the same weight on the net as off the net" and this "threat" has no weight wherever it's made if it's made in a public in a jokey way that makes the writer identifiable.

      If he'd posted it to the airport and taken care not to get any finger prints /DNA on it then it would be a different matter. I think we can all agree that anyone stupid enough to publicly announce who they are and what/when their terrorist plans are is unlikely to have the skills required to do much damage...

      Although, I think anyone making a joke these days is well advised to make sure it's clearly a joke and add "lol" or a smiley face. At least then if it does come up in court you can always prove that it was only ever intended as humour.

      For example :

      Question : Do you get 5 foot high penguins?

      Answer : No

      Humorous response : Oh cr*p, I just ran over a nun.

      I don't now expect the police to turn up at my house and start examining my car for blood and nun damage or phoning the local nunnery asking if any nuns are AWOL.

      Oh, hold on, is that the sound of sirens I can hear...

      No officer, I'll come quietly, just let me get my coat.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        OK, lets look at what he said;

        "Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!"

        Well, just because I don't find it funny doen't mean that it isn't so yes, some people might find it funny, if he added a "lol" or a "(jj)" then that pretty much would be a giveaway that it's a joke, perhaps the exclamation mark means it's a joke?

        Does "Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high" still sound like a joke? do these two sentences sound like they are two sides of a thin line? what about just "I'm blowing the airport sky high" if this is over the line then just keep adding words until it becomes a joke.

        You make a passable joke to emphasise the point that it's a joke and he shouldn't have been charged, but then destroy your argument completely by saying that he should have added lol to make it clear that it's a joke.

        Even 'tho I don't find what he said funny, I can see it was a joke (probably), if I had no sense of humour, less of a tolerance for idiots and had a clear definition of what I should take seriously (naming the airport, giving a timeframe, indicating the method) then I can see how someone just "turned the handle" on the process.

    2. Intractable Potsherd

      @ Richard Jukes ...

      ... come on, own up - are you a police droid, a CPS worker, or a civil servant in the Department of Injustice? It has to be one of those, surely?

  54. Ben Rosenthal

    Flashmob retweet

    I'm game if enough are.

    This whole situation is either really dumb or really sinister, I'm not quite sure which as yet.

    Joke alert sign for use as evidence of my humorous non violent nature at a later date :D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Uh oh....

      Don't you know that inciting to crime is a criminal offence?

      Expect the knock on the door.....

  55. NightFox

    On the Other Hand...

    So, last night in Newry a bomb goes off - a warning being passed to the security services 17 minutes earlier. To me, that suggests that at least *some* bomb warnings have to be taken seriously. Now this was probably a very credible warning, with code words being passed along with the threat to confirm its veracity, but it leads to a situation where a judgement call has to be made when threats are received as to whether the threat is viewed as a serious one that warrants a security response.

    So, some situations such as this are going to be fairly low on the threat credibility scale, whereas others may warrant a response, and sometimes a major one. So how do you stop such situations arising? Perhaps you have to make example of people and demonstrate a zero-tolerance approach. In other words, this may have been an example of a low credibility threat, but by the response shown by the security services, isn't this going to make people think twice before making similar comments, which may have more credibility about them to the extent that they warrant a security response?

    It's unfortunate that people's confidence in HMG is so low that events such as this are so widely dismissed as "New Labour Madness" without any real consideration of the facts.

  56. Mos Eisley Spaceport

    I'm so mad...

    ...I'm going to blow up the entire world!!!

    Now. (waits for plod to arrive.....)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Too late:-

      I already did.

      You're in Matrix.

      Which probably explains a lot.

  57. djones

    Get out of jail free

    Perhaps he could get a campaign going to get several thousand other twitterers to post the same message. Then if even one escapes a court case the authorities are effectively saying that this is not a credible threat so his case has to be dropped.

  58. Wize

    At least the airport heard him

    How many times have we all posted somewhere that a particular company was useless? How we have told anyone who listens on a forum/social network site how a shop was unable to organise a pissup at a brewery, how their delivery driver couldn't find their arse with an atlas and that the shower of incompetent fools must be working one day a fortnight to live up to their '5 working days' claim.

    And how often as that company listened to how unhappy their customers are? How many offer to do something about it? How many change their ways?

    This must be the first case where they have actually read a customer's message and acted on it.

  59. Ben Rosenthal
    Big Brother

    this whole thing

    makes me so angry I could just explode!

    No wait, not like that occifer! :/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      this whole thing

      makes me so angry I'm gonna go supernova on thier ass!

      Like to see them claim that is a possible threat.

      Surely this is just a case of a Big bad wolf impression gone awry.

  60. petep

    What an utter...


  61. Daniel Owen


    Seems if anyone says bomb and airport in the same sentence at the moment they are automaticall guilty of something.

    How does a shoe bomber walk? ****ing carefully!!!

    That doesn't mean I am a shoe bomber, nor does it mean I will be walking to your local airport (just so we are clear).

    (joke courtesy of Marcus Bridgstocke)

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