A 26-year-old man who was involved in a campaign of chaos in Newtownabbey which included a crude device being left outside a chapel and a hoax device at the home of a DUP councillor has been handed a 26-month sentence.
Belfast Crown Court heard that while Robert Colgan was not a member of any paramilitary organisation, he made a total of six hoax bomb calls, a majority of which he said were on behalf of the ‘Real UDA’.
He will spend 13 months of his sentence in custody, with the remaining months on supervised licence when he is released from custody.
Branded as “immature”, the father of four from Mournebeg Drive in the Rathcoole area of Newtownabbey was told his five-week campaign caused widespread disruption.
Belfast Crown Court heard Colgan’s offending was part of the Union Flag protest, and he acted as he did due to a desire to “get back” at the PSNI.
Colgan pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing explosives in suspicious circumstances – namely a blast bomb-improvised device – and to six charges of communicating false information causing a bomb hoax. He also admitted further four counts of placing an article causing a bomb hoax.
All the offending took place on dates between January 31 and March 4, 2013.
Judge Brian Sherrard told Colgan “your actions will have served to ratchet up an already tense sitution in our community”.
The police welcomed the sentence. Detective Sergeant Gavin Pue said: “The calls Colgan made to police and the subsequent alerts they prompted caused considerable fear and disruption to the community in Newtownabbey.”