A Hampshire man lied to police over plans to blow up mosques in Southampton.

Timothy Bingham told police that mosques in St Mary’s and Groves Road were about to be blown up.

The 44-year-old then claimed he knew where the bombs were placed and asked for £100 and then £50 for the information.

Police traced the call to Bingham’s house and carried out searches of the two mosques, which showed there were no devices.

When police arrived at his home, in Fairbairn Walk, Chandlers Ford, Bingham told them: “I report a theft of my bike and it takes the police an hour to attend, when I report a bomb they turn up straight away.”

A Winchester Crown Court Bingham was sentenced to 15 months in prison suspended for two years He was also been ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and given a six-month curfew.

After the case Fiona Rutherford, for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Thanks to Hampshire Constabulary, who acted quickly and discreetly Tim Bingham’s reprehensible actions did not have any impact on the community and the potential for widespread alarm and distress was avoided.

“Her Honour Judge Miller said when passing sentence that considerable police time was wasted and she also remarked that it would have been traumatic for the operator who took the call.

“This prosecution should serve as reminder that making a bomb hoax is serious criminal offence, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years.”