An Apple store worker could be facing a jail sentence after he made a hoax phone call involving a bomb threat to shops in Churchill Square. Arjunbir Soin, a 21 year old Brighton Engineering student, claimed there were five bombs in the city shopping centre in a bid to force staff to close it, so that he could have the day off.
Yesterdy, at Brighton Magistrates Court, Soin pleaded guilty to the five charges of making hoax calls.
Soin made the calls on December 30th last year, whilst working a shift at the Apple store. He firstly phoned the Churchill Square customer service desk, before River Island and Costa.
Soin made the first call at 9.04am as he sat in his car, in which he told a customer service worker that there were five bombs in the centre.
The student made a second call at 10.30am, after starting his shift, from the toilet. He asked the same customer service worker: “Did you find the bomb?”
He made a third call at 1.35pm to River Island, again from his car, telling staff there was a bomb in their store.
At 2.04pm he made a fourth call from the car park, telling Church Square operations manager Sam McLean “you don’t take bomb threats very seriously do you”, “there are four bombs in the centre”.
One hour later he made the final call to Costa, telling the manager Viktorija Fursha there was a bomb in the coffee shop.
Police traced the number to Soin and found and proceeded seized his phone, finding the call to Costa in his call history.
Churchill Square management decided not to evacuate the centre after the threats were made and shoppers remained unaware of the incident.
Prosecutor Martina Sherlock told the court Soin initially denied making the calls before he was played three recordings of them.
She told the court: “He told officers he was behind with university work and wanted the day off work.”
“He said he was sorry and not a terrorist, and did not want to hurt anyone.”
Sarah Smith, defending, said Soin was “an absolute idiot”. She told the court he was stressed about university group work, already had outstanding work due and had already called in sick on a number of days. He had called with the expectation that the bomb threat would cause an emergency evacuation. The defending lawyer told the court that the student struggled to balance his 16 hours a week at the Apple store and the rest of his university workload. He was finding university difficult but was afraid to drop out because of family pressures.
Soin, of Culpepper Close, Brighton, pleaded guilty to five counts of communicating false information through a bomb hoax. The student now faces a custodial sentence.
Chairman of magistrates Ian Stuart committed the case to Lewes Crown Court for sentencing.
He said: “We consider this serious enough to commit to the Crown Court. … We don’t feel we have sufficient sentencing powers.”
Soin will appear before Lewes Crown Court next month.