A WOMAN who pretended she had left a bomb at a train station has been jailed.

Michelle Sparrow rang the Essex Police force control room and told the call taker a bomb had been left at Wickford train station causing major disruption and alarm to the transport network while it was investigated.

43-year-old Sparrow, who already had nine previous convictions for making bomb hoaxes, was jailed for two years and eight months after admitting one charge of making a bomb threat.

Francesca Kirby, prosecuting, said: “A phone call was made at 4.46pm on August 26 last year. The call was received by Essex Police’s force control room from the defendant’s mobile phone.

“The defendant told the call taker her name and said she had put a bomb at Wickford train station.

“She told the call taker the address and exact location of the bomb. She described the bomb in detail and said it was set to go off at 9pm.”

Sparrow told the call taker she was on license for making hoax calls and that she wanted to "hurt and kill people".

After receiving the information, Basildon police officers PC Maile and PC Creighton went to the station and found no trace of a device and then went to Sparrow’s home.

Basildon Crown Court heard yesterday that Sparrow immediately apologised to the officers and said there wasn’t a bomb.

She was charged and admitted the offence at her first appearance at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on August 28 last year.

Ms Kirby said a doctor had assessed Sparrow and she added: “She is not suffering from psychiatric symptoms and a mental health disposal would not be appropriate.”

Matthew Bone, mitigating, told the court Sparrow, of Wethersfield Way, Wickford, had made the call because she wanted to return to prison as she did not feel safe in her current accommodation.

Sentencing her, Judge John Lodge said: “These cases provide a very difficult sentencing exercise.

“I have no doubt that when you phoned the police, they immediately realised it was you.

"They knew that you had done it before because you told them and the reality is they were probably 90 per cent sure it was a hoax but 90 per cent is not enough.

"They had to carry out a difficult search.

"This caused disruption to the public and fear to officers who are expected to go into places where there may be a bomb.

"The only sentence possible is prison.”