FRIENDLESS, jobless and lonely, a Southampton man rang the police to warn them a bomb was to explode because he wanted to go to prison so he could have “a roof over his head.”

Stephen Privett made a 999 call shortly after 1pm on January 13 that a bomb was going off in Southampton city centre later that afternoon.

Prosecutor Duncan Mylne said the operator asked him more questions but he rang off.

The call was traced to Privett but when police spoke to his ex-partner, they discovered he had taken an insulin overdose after the break-up of their relationship the previous day and he was in hospital.

In interview, he admitted regretting what he had done but wanted to go to prison where he would have “a roof over his head and clothes.”

Privett, 57, of no fixed abode, admitted making a hoax call and was jailed for a year.

In mitigation, Richard Griffiths said Privett felt his life had come to an end. He had had no contact with his son for five years, only had the occasional text from his daughter and found it difficult getting employment.

Passing sentence, Recorder Ben Compton QC said the message had to go out bomb hoaxes were taken seriously because of the fear and disruption they caused.