CAMBS: Man avoids jail for city centre bomb scare

A MAN who caused a mass evacuation in Cambridge city centre with a bomb scare has avoided jail.

Robert Baker, 28, constructed a sinister-looking device out of a drinks bottle, copper piping and coins which he placed in the microwave of a communal kitchen at his place of work in Wellington House, in East Road, on September 26.

He glued a timer to the microwave and the plug into a socket on the wall before walking out of the building.

Another worker discovered the device and raised the alarm. The building, along with others nearby, was evacuated and the road closed for several hours while RAF bomb disposal experts made the device safe.

Baker had been spotted by several witnesses in the building and was said to be acting strangely. He was also seen to be hanging around outside the cordon during the evacuation.

Officers arrested Baker at his home address in Toyes Lane, Burwell, and a thorough search was carried out at the property.

Search teams discovered a three-pack of Superglue with two bottles missing – one was found attached to the device, another discarded behind the microwave at the scene. Bluetack, elastic bands, copper piping and electrical tape matching those used on the device were also found at the address.

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Examinations also showed Baker’s fingerprints on the inside of the tape on the device and elsewhere on the bottle.

He pleaded guilty to placing an article with intent to cause a bomb hoax and was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court today (Friday) to a two-year hospital supervision order with suspended nine-month prison sentence hanging over him should he fail to comply.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Mead said: “It is still not clear why Baker decided to make this device and then place it in the communal kitchen at his workplace. There has been speculation as to his mental health at the time of this incident and another line of enquiry was whether this was the action of a disgruntled employee. Ultimately it is only Robert Baker who knows the real reason that he placed the device and what his intentions were.

“His actions caused a huge amount of disruption and inconvenience for local businesses, students and staff at Anglia Ruskin University and the public at large who use the normally very busy East Road on a daily basis, not to mention a cost of around �10,000 to the taxpayer for police and RAF involvement.

“This type of behaviour will not be tolerated and anyone who commits such offences faces being taken to court.”