Ipswich: Man is branded ‘reckless’ after breaking cordon

IPSWICH: A businessman who broke through a police cordon and opened two suspect packages during a bomb scare has been branded as “reckless” by a judge.

James Mullan, of Main Road, Kesgrave, was charged under the Terrorism Act, after ducking under police tape cordoning off Ipswich’s market on the Cornhill on November 17.

Police officers evacuated the Town Hall, nearby buildings and the market after a man placed two bags in the Customer Service Centre in the Town Hall.

Mullan, a 62-year-old watch repairman, had become frustrated by a perceived lack of police activity during the drama and wanted to resolve the situation himself.

Mullan appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a police cordon.

The court heard that during the incident a number of market traders had become frustrated because they were losing trade.

Jeremy Kendall, for Mullan, said: “The defendant knew from previous experience that a bomb disposal team would have to come up from Colchester and he wanted to act sooner.

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“He went through the cordon and into the building and opened the bags which were full of clothes and shoes. “What he did was stupid. Had the device been explosive then he would clearly have endangered his own safety.

“But he felt there was an unexplained delay and wanted to help, not hinder.

“Ironically, he did help the operation by revealing there was nothing explosive there.”

District Judge David Cooper told Mullan: “You were reckless and impatient.

“As an upstanding member of the community you must abide by police cordons.”

Mr Mullan, said he was relieved at the outcome. “If I had known I was breaking the law I would not have done what I did,” he said. “I would not do it again, but I was just trying to help.”

He was given a conditional discharge for one year and ordered to pay �85 costs.

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