EXCLUSIVE - Evicted tenant leaves: bomb message’ for police

EXCLUSIVE By Maggie Gibson PHOTOS: Brian Purdy A NEIGHBOUR from hell triggered a major bomb scare when she left behind a package labelled Tick , Tock, Tick, Tock, BOOM!”Dozens of nearby homes in were evacuated after emergency services

EXCLUSIVE By Maggie Gibson PHOTOS: Brian Purdy

A NEIGHBOUR from hell triggered a major bomb scare when she left behind a package labelled Tick , Tock, Tick, Tock, BOOM!”

Dozens of nearby homes in were evacuated after emergency services discovered the bomb’ in an empty house in Stephenson Close, March.

Tenant Amanda Copley was due to be evicted but left a package behind which threw a community into chaos.

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Ms Copley left early on Monday but neighbours called for help about 12.45pm when they realised she had left the bathroom taps turned on and water was cascading down the stairs.

When police and fire-fighters entered the house they found a box in the hallway with the words Tick Tock, Tick Tock, BOOM, on it.

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They immediately started to evacuate residents within a 100 metre area of the house and called the bomb squad. A search also began to find Ms Copley. It is believed she was on a train to London.

“It is the final insult,” said next door neighbour Malcolm Shirley who said he had endured two years of hell since Ms Copley and her four children moved into the home they rented from Muir Housing Association Ltd.

Just one hour before the discovery of the package, Ms Copley spoke to The Cambs Times from a railway station as she made her way to stay with friends. She said she wanted time to get her head together.

She said: “I have lost everything including my home, and I am going to lose my children, they are going to be fostered.

“Two of my children have behavioural problems and I have been victimised because of that. There is no way I am going to apologise to my neighbours.

“Yes, I have played into their hands by losing my temper because they have taken it out on my children. The last thing I will ever do is apologise.”

Ms Copley admitted she had damaged the house before leaving and police who entered were appalled at the state she had left it in.

One officer said: “I have never seen anything like it, she has completely trashed it.”

Ms Copley said she intended to return to March after staying with a friend and would look for somewhere to live in the town.

Neighbours Malcolm and Susan Shirley went through mediation with Ms Copley to try and sort out their differences. However, Mr and Mrs Shirley said within days of the mediation agreement Ms Copley had broken it.

Mr Shirley said: “We have had two years of complete hell. This used to be a nice place to live but it has become a no-go area because of her and her kids.

“She has wrecked cars; her kids shout abuse and what we have lived through has been horrific. We are calling the police out all the time.”

The couple then went to court in the spring to get an injunction order out which remains in force until February 2009.

That order was to forbid Ms Copley using threatening behaviour or violence against them, any other residents or visitors. It also forbids her to be verbally abusive or damage property belonging to others in the Close.

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said she had called social services on numerous occasions because she was worried about the children.

She said: “I was told to stop ringing them because the children were very resilient.”

Another neighbour said: “I cannot sleep because of the noise. My children cannot sleep, it is making me ill. There are people around there drinking all the time and I cannot let my eight-year-old daughter out.

“They have thrown things into my garden. There was a knife which was very sharp.”

Residents were eventually allowed back into their homes at around 4.20pm after a team from the Royal Logistic Bomb Disposal squad from Colchester carried out a controlled explosion.

The device was to said to have been a deliberate hoax – a hoax which had caused massive disruption to hundreds of families. Electricity supplies in the area had to be cut off while the police operation was in progress.

Representatives of Muir Group Housing Association watched as the locks were changed on the house and it was made secure.

Residents paid tribute to the emergency services, particularly the police community Support Officers.

On resident said: “They have been very supportive and have stayed with us all day while this has been going on. It has just not seemed real. We can get back to normal now.”

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