Man admits Newport bomb hoax
6:02am Monday 24th February 2014 in Gwent news
A MAN has admitted a bomb hoax which brought Newport city centre to a standstill last year.
Phillip Balmont, of Tyntyla Avenue, Pentre, Rhondda Cynon Taff, pleaded guilty to placing an article with intent in Newport, which led to members of the armed forces having to attend and carry out a controlled detonation.
Balmont, 28, appeared at Newport Crown Court on Friday where he admitted to the crime.
Balmont had been deemed fit to plea and to stand trial and he appeared in the dock assisted by two representatives from the mental health services.
On April 4, 2013, Balmont placed a ‘creatine tub’ with wires attached to it and a plastic bag filled with powder, at the Wickes DIY store on Barrack Hill, Newport. The charge stated he did so intending to cause others to believe it was likely to explode or ignite and cause personal injury or damage to property.
Bomb disposal experts were called in around 11.30am after a suspicious package was found lodged under a fire door of the hardware store near the Harlequin roundabout.
People faced three hours of disruption in Newport with road closures and a 100 metre cordon around the area. After 11.30am, dozens of police vans, ambulances and two fire engines attended and cordoned off the end of Barrack Hill, Evans Street and the top of Malpas Road, blocking traffic to the roundabout. Buses were disrupted and shoppers were unable to return to their cars. Wickes, neighbouring Aldi staff, and nearby residents, were evacuated as a precaution.
An army disposal team was called in and a remote controlled robot was used to blow up the mystery package. Forensics teams then moved in to investigate and emergency service personnel began to leave the scene. Police later confirmed the package was not explosive.
After a guity plea was entered, bail was granted and Judge Daniel Williams ordered that Balmont is admitted to a low security unit, where he must reside while on bail.
Balmont will return to court to be sentenced on March 21.