Teenager sentenced for poison gas hoax

A teenager who carried out a "chilling" hoax, warning the security services of an imminent poison gas attack on the London Underground, was sent to a young offenders' institution for two years yesterday.

A judge heard that Andrew Bean, then 17, called an anti-terror hotline and told the security services he was a former member of a terrorist organisation that was planning to release hydrogen cyanide in an explosion on the Tube.

Ian Skelt, for the prosecution, told Hull Crown Court that Bean, now 18, gave a false name and used a voice distortion device when he contacted the authorities on Boxing Day last year. Mr Skelt said Bean first demanded £10,000 for the "names and addresses" of those involved in the threatened attack, and then upped his demand to £20,000. Bean then made a series of e-mails and telephone calls in which he provided some of the details of the threatened attack. He also posted the threat on the internet.

The court was told that MI5 quickly established that the threat was a hoax, and passed the details to the British Transport Police.

Graham Pressley, for the defence, said: "My client has come to court with an equal measure of stupidity and intelligence. He gave no thought to the possible implications."

Bean, of Goole, East Yorkshire, pleaded guilty.