Notorious bomb hoaxer sparked armed police callout at new hostel

Posted On 22 Nov 2021 at 10:22 am


A report of a gun and explosives at a new hostel in Brighton has turned out to be the latest prank call from a notorious bomb hoaxer.

Mark Wilkinson was jailed less than a year ago for starting a string of bin fires around Brighton to give him an excuse to call 999.

He had previously been spared prison after putting on a bad Irish accent to report bombs at Brighton Police Station in July 2019.

In June this year, he was given a community order for making another false report, which included a six-week overnight curfew at the hostel in Kemptown he was then living at.

That hostel, in a former B&B, has now closed after neighbours there complained – but Cranmead has opened one in the former Bib and Tucker pub in Elm Grove, which several residents of the former one are living at.

In the last few weeks, residents say there has been a string of incidents, with smashed windows, regular police and ambulance callouts, culminating in armed police attending in the early hours of Monday morning and again on Tuesday morning.

The caller on Monday told police someone had been stabbed and the dog unit searched the area before further investigation revealed it was a false alarm.

No arrests were made in connection with that incident.

On Tuesday, the caller told police they had weapons and explosives. Two men – Wilkinson and a 40-year-old man – were arrested and Wilkinson was subsequently charged.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “A 40-year-old man arrested on suspicion of making malicious communications and for possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence was released on conditional bail.

“Mark Wilkinson, 49, of Elm Grove in Brighton, was charged with sending communication conveying a threatening message and wasting police time.

He appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (November 17), where he pleaded guilty to both charges and was remanded in custody pending a later court date.”

Cranmead was approached for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.

  1. Hovelassies Reply

    One of the Directors of Cranmead has a very long, dismal track record when it comes to running so-call “temporary-emergency accommodation” hostels that BHCC pays eye-watering amounts of taxpayers’ money to dump often vulnerable people in. Was previously running the Seafield Rd hostels for many years and stuck two fingers up at the neighbours throughout. The coroner’s records, police records and testimonials of neighbours speak volumes, as do the numerous neighbourhood meeting with councillors over the years. It is inexplicable that BHCC continues to do business with this director given the council finally ended up refusing to place people at the Seafield Rd hostels because of the appalling management and adverse impact on the community. The director and BHCC officers have troublingly cosy relationships going back years… Time someone joined the dots.

  2. Kemptown resident Reply

    I wonder if this is the same director who was commissioning and performance manager for services for rough sleepers at Brighton and Hove City Council a couple of years ago before she moved on to work for St Mungo’s and then Cranmead?
    We had a Cranmead hostel in our street for many months and it changed the whole area. Many of the local residents were talking about moving out because the disruption was so awful and businesses, which were already struggling to recover from the pandemic, were badly affected.

  3. Hovelassies Reply

    It is not the same director. The directors of Cranmead and BHCC officers have troublingly cosy relationships going back years… Time someone joined the dots. Should be thoroughly investigated.

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