Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Bradley David Taylor jailed after planting hoax bombs around Hamilton

Former volunteer firefighter Bradley Taylor outside Hamilton District Court. Photo / Belinda Feek
Former volunteer firefighter Bradley Taylor outside Hamilton District Court. Photo / Belinda Feek

A council worker and volunteer firefighter who planted fake bombs around Hamilton has been sentenced to two and a half years' jail.

Bradley David Taylor, 27, earlier admitted sparking four bomb threats after placing the suspicious packages in two city parks in June last year.

Taylor appeared before Judge Robert Spear in the Hamilton District Court today where he was also sentenced for stealing fire equipment from the Ngaruawahia Fire Brigade valued at $6000.

Judge Spear said it was serious offending and the sentencing needed to send a message that the type of offending such as hoax bombs would not be tolerated.

"This was strange behaviour. It may be categorised as attention seeking and perhaps it was. But I tell you now it was serious and disturbing offending," Judge Spear said.

Taylor was sentenced to a total of two years and six months on charges of threats of harm to people and property and theft.

Taylor worked for Hamilton City Council as groundsman for the park at the time the bombs were planted.

Taylor's lawyer Kerry Burroughs argued his client had no previous convictions and believed the long hours he had been allowed to work for the council during the FIFA U-20 World Cup had triggered his behaviour.

Three packages were placed in toilets in Gower Park, while a fourth was left in Melville Park.

The bomb hoaxes resulted in the NZ Defence Force bomb squad being sent to the city on four separate occasions, including a helicopter for the last call-out. This caused a large amount of disruption to the south end of the city, in and around Bader and Melville, which is near Waikato Hospital.

The theft from Ngaruawahia Fire Brigade happened between April 1, 2012, and July 1, 2015, and involved him stealing 25 items which included gloves, hoses, BA masks, boots, jackets, firefighter helmets, radio handset, recruit training overalls and a splash suit.

The items were returned to the brigade on the day of the search of an unrelated matter on July 1, 2015.

Taylor was supported by his family in court, who were in tears after hearing the decision.

Hamilton City Council workers embarrassed by hoax

Following Taylor's sentencing, Hamilton City Council deputy chief executive Lance Vervoort said colleagues had been embarrassed by Taylor's actions and felt they had been directly affected.

"The crimes Mr Taylor committed caused considerable frustration, delay and consternation in our community.

"His actions tied up a significant amount of their time and resources and meant two public parks were unavailable to our community for several hours."

The council prided itself on offering safe places for the community to visit and enjoy, he said.

Mr Vervoort was pleased the matter had been concluded and respected the court process.

- NZ Herald

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