max temp: 13°C

min temp: 12°C


Sudbury: Cleaner who threw ‘hoax bomb’ into manager’s office at Kingfisher Leisure Centre is jailed

12:00 23 January 2014

James Hasler

James Hasler


A cleaner who threw what appeared to be a smoking bomb at his boss has been jailed.


James Hasler, 34, had shouted “I’ve had enough. I quit” before lighting a fuse on the device, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday.

The terrified manager who was the target of the prank at the Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Sudbury, John Scarff, needed six weeks of counselling to recover from the ordeal.

Hasler, of Woodhall Road, Sudbury, had returned to Mr Scarff’s office moments later to say that it had been meant as a joke. Hasler was immediately suspended from his job.

The whole incident had been caught on CCTV and the recording was shown to the court.

Judge John Devaux jailed Hasler for 14 months for placing a hoax homb. Hasler had also pleaded guilty to production and possession of cannabis.

Edward Renvoize, prosecuting, said Mr Scarff, who had experience of munitions from his RAF service, had been badly shocked when Hasler burst into his office on October 18 and threw what appeared to be dynamite.

Mr Scarff had managed to kick away the smouldering device, consisting of three red tubes taped together with a fuse, and it had gone out.

Police arrested Hasler early the following day at his home where a search uncovered chemicals used in the production of fireworks.

Also found were three cannabis plants and a small quantity of cannabis which the court heard Hasler had smoked on the daily basis for the past 13 years.

Hasler had told police: “The intention was a joke. I did not intend to cause any fear.”

Defending, Jonathan Seely said Hasler, who had expressed considerable remorse, had not been pursuing any form of vendetta or dispute against Mr Scarff.

Mr Seeley told the court: “Perhaps astoundingly at this time the defendant was in the process of applying for a pay rise and which Mr Scarff was helping him with.”

Hasler’s sense of humour was, at times, “monstrously bad” said Mr Seely.

Giving evidence about his son, Stephen Hasler said: “He does like playing jokes and perhaps doesn’t realise that some of them are not funny.”

Sentencing him, Judge Devaux told Hasler: “Happily the fact is these cases are unusual.”

Judge Devaux granted a restraining order banning Hasler from contacting Mr Scraff for the next three years.

Tracey Loynds, chief executive of South Suffolk Leisure which manages the Kingfisher centre on behalf of Babergh District Council, told the EADT: “The incident was managed quickly and efficiently by our team and by Suffolk Constabulary. We are now keen to put this event behind us and move on.”



  • This is absolutely ridiculous! It shouldn't even have got to court, let alone sending the poor guy to jail for 14 months.

    Report this comment


    Thursday, January 23, 2014

  • I think 14 months is a little too long, but then he won't serve all of that. However, I do believe a custodial sentence is appropriate since the manager (or anyone else) might have seriously hurt themselves in trying to escape what they thought was a real bomb.

    Report this comment


    Thursday, January 23, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Ipswich Crown Court.

An Ipswich woman whose sex assault allegations led to the discovery a convicted paedophile deported 11 years ago was back in the UK and working with vulnerable teenagers has broken her silence.

Sudbury silk will now be given special European protection from imitation thanks to laws championed this week by local Suffolk Euro MP Richard Howitt. The Suffolk Euro MP at Vanners Silk Weavers with chairman David Tooth.

It has graced the homes and bodies of celebrities ranging from Michelle Obama to members of the Royal family, but up until now ‘Sudbury silk’ has remained a relatively well-kept secret.

Broomhill Swimming Pool in Ipswich has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. L-R: Robyn Llewellyn (head of Heritage Lottery Fund - East of England), Cllr Bryony Rudkin, Tim Mills, Garath Jones and Mark Ling.

Broomhill pool in Ipswich could reopen to the public at Easter 2018 – its 80th anniversary – after its re-opening proposals got the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A car on Brackenwood Crescent has rolled into a house  causing minor damage.

A bearded dragon narrowly escaped unharmed, if a little bit shaken, after a car slammed into the front of a house in Bury St Edmunds earlier today.

The entrance to PPG Industries in Stowmarket. (File image from 2012)

Two males believed to be from Afghanistan have been arrested on immigration offences in Stowmarket this morning.

Airman 1st Class Darren Phillips, 48th Equipment Maintenance Squadron crew chief at RAF Lakenheath, who died in a motorcycle accident

A memorial service for a 20-year-old US Air Force airman who died after a crash near Barton Mills is being held.

Woodbridge Shuck Shellfish Festival

If you’d like to treat your tastebuds this weekend, you’re in the right place.

Dr John Ashdown-Hill from Lawford is made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.  Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A historian who was instrumental in the discovery of Richard III’s remains has today been presented with an MBE.

Miss Teen Suffolk Emma Collingridge who is opening Framlingham Sausagefest, with orgainsers Jenny Stockman and Richard Harrison.

Organisers behind Framlingham’s annual SausageFest have said they are expecting a record number of visitors to the event tomorrow.

Police are investigating the incident

Police have issued CCTV images of three people they are keen to identify following a theft from a Co-op supermarket in Felixstowe

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages