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Newcastle bridge artwork bomb scare student sentenced

Thomas Ellison outside the court
Image caption Thomas Ellison said he was inspired by an exhibit in Prague

A student who left a piece of artwork on a bridge, sparking a major bomb scare, has been sentenced to 90 hours of community service.

Thomas Ellison, 33, of Fenham, Newcastle, placed the lunchbox containing wires, a circuit board and a doll on the city’s High Level Bridge.

A member of the public called the police, leading to parts of the city centre being sealed off.

Ellison admitted causing a public nuisance but claimed it was “art”.

Sentencing him at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Edward Bindloss said he was “naive” but showed genuine remorse and had no previous convictions.

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption The transparent box contained wires, a circuit board and a doll

The alert started when a member of the public saw the lunchbox on 15 August 2017.

Several roads in the city were sealed off for two hours, but eventually police discovered there was no threat to the public.

Trains were stopped and the emergency services attended, costing £3,500 overall.

The following day Ellison called 999 and asked for the piece to be returned to him.

Detectives were able to trace the phone box he was calling from and identified him by his fingerprints.

The court heard Ellison had seen a similar exhibit in Prague, and wanted to do the same on Tyneside.

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