Hoax left in apartment by Scottish art student triggers major police incident

A Scottish art student admitted he was an ‘idiot’ after he sparked a major police incident leaving a hoax bomb in the basement of his old apartment.

Alexander Campbell created the realistic-looking device for an art project at Gray’s School of Art, part of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, in 2018.

But when the 28-year-old left the Wallfield Crescent property in the city, he left it behind.

Several months later, a new tenant found the artwork and called the demining team on February 27, 2020.

During the six-hour evacuation operation that followed, roads were closed and people were displaced from nearly 30 properties.

Some families have to be relocated overnight, Aberdeen Sheriff Court has learned.

Tax MP Victoria Kerr said the new tenant had lived in the apartment for three months before discovering the device.

She said: “He showed visitors to the cellar where he picked up bottles and a cable and noticed that a cell phone was attached to it.

“His companions took pictures of the device and advised him to contact the police, which he did.

“The police put in place immediate cordon and road closures.

“The device was evaluated by Explosive Ordnance Disposal, where it was described as a very good hoax device,” which lacked any type of explosive. “

Attorney-at-law Neil Wilson, who had previously pleaded guilty to breach of public order on behalf of his client, said Campbell “accepts he was an idiot” and gave “a full explanation of what the article was and why it ended up in the cellar “.

Sheriff Margaret Hodge said she accepted Campbell’s behavior was the result of “oversight and madness” and handed him an absolute discharge.

The ruling means the court accepts that a crime has technically been committed – but that any punishment for the accused would be inappropriate and the case is closed.

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Kayleen C. Rice

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