'Suicide bomber' who threatened to blow up Northampton police station was 'prolific' offender

Police buildings evacuated, roads closed and Weston Favell Shopping Centre put on alert for evacuation

Friday, 30th July 2021, 4:41 pm
Jayesh Thanki. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

A man who called 999 to say he was taking a bomb to a police station, then turned up there wearing a rucksack he claimed contained an explosive device, has been jailed for three years.

Over two days in May this year, Jayesh Thanki, aged 46, began repeatedly calling Northamptonshire Police’s Force Control Room and verbally abusing call handlers because he blamed police for him having been evicted.

At 11.20am on May 14, Thanki called 999 again, this time to say he had a bomb in his bag and was on his way to Weston Favell police station, in Pyramid Close.

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Call handlers immediately alerted the station and staff were able to lock the doors before Thanki turned up outside shortly afterwards.

He was wearing a rucksack on his chest and holding his hand inside it, telling the waiting police officers it contained an explosive device.

As firearms officers began negotiating with him, the station and a nearby police training facility were evacuated, with local roads closed and other buildings nearby, including Weston Favell shopping centre, put on alert for a possible evacuation.

Eventually officers were able to encourage Thanki to remove his hand from the bag and he was then safely detained and arrested.

The contents of his rucksack were later revealed to be clothing and he was charged with making a bomb threat and one count of making a call conveying false information, under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.

Appearing at Northampton Crown Court yesterday, Wednesday, July 28, Thanki, of Dryleys Court, Northampton, entered guilty pleas to the two charges and was sentenced to three years.Detective Inspector Simon Barnes, of Northampton CID which investigated the incident, said: “Thanki was known as a prolific caller to Northamptonshire Police, which in May culminated in him repeatedly calling and abusing call handlers, before telling them he was taking a bomb to Weston Favell police station.

“When he arrived, he told officers he had a live device in his bag, holding his hand inside it to make out that he was holding a detonator, and refusing to comply with instructions to put the bag down.

“Not knowing what was contained within the bag, firearms officers seized an opportunity to tackle Thanki to the ground, showing immense bravery and courage.

“Our officers showed the value of their training throughout this incident, staying incredibly calm in challenging circumstances to bring matters to a peaceful conclusion with no-one harmed.

“Their poise and composure is a credit to them and to the Force, and this incident shows the risks all police officers face on a daily basis as they fulfil their pledge to fight crime and protect people.

“This guilty plea and outcome would not have been possible without the diligent preparation of the case file by the investigating officer, PC Chris Forshaw of Northampton CID.

“The court’s sentence rightly reflects the seriousness of Thanki’s actions and it is to be hoped that his time in prison allows him to get the help he needs to make better choices in future.”

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Blatchly, who was in charge of deploying the armed officers that day, made a statement as part of the investigation in which he stressed it could not be underestimated how close firearms officers could have been to shooting Thanki to protect themselves and the public.

He added: “If Thanki had been shot, not only could he have lost his life, but those officers who used lethal force would have had to live with finding out in retrospect that he did not in fact have a bomb.

“The impact of this hoax bomb threat by Thanki on the public and the police is significant. His actions put police officers into a situation where they had to make critical decisions under pressure which may have led to a fatal outcome. His bogus actions diverted officers away from responding to more important calls from the community and the evacuation of busy police premises, reducing the ability to provide a service to the public.”