Drunk teenager who couldn't order a pizza phones bomb threat to the White House

A DRUNKEN teenager who couldn't get through to a pizza delivery service instead phoned the White House and told them there was a bomb in New York City.

Thomas Hutchinson's attempt at a prank call after a Sheffield barbecue sparked an investigation by the FBI, CIA and West Yorkshire Police's counter terrorism unit.

The 19-year-old made the call after passing a mobile phone around friends, Sheffield Magistrates' Court heard. He told the White House operator a bomb had been planted in New York's Madison Square Garden.

Hutchinson, of Durlston Crescent, Gleadless, got the White House number from directory enquiries after initially he and his friends were unable to contact a local pizza delivery company.

White House switchboard operator Jane Sasson immediately pressed a "malicious call trace" button which allowed a secret service agent to listen in, said Stephen Acaster, prosecuting.

He said: the operator "noticed the number had a UK code and a male voice swore and said: 'There's a bomb in Madison Square Garden'."

In a statement, Ms Sasson, a New Yorker, said: "I was emotionally and psychologically affected and thought of 9/11 again."

Mr Acaster said the CIA were contacted and the call was traced back to Jack Thickett, a friend of Hutchinson's, who had been at the barbecue. It took less than four hours to establish it was a hoax.

Hutchinson was arrested at the University of Sheffield Arts Tower on May 15 by officers from West Yorkshire Police's counter terrorism unit. He initially denied making the call but entered a guilty plea.

Geoff Flemming, defending, said: "It was a drunken episode by a 17-year-old. He has had 14 months of continuous anxiety arising out of a breathtakingly stupid telephone call that lasted less than a minute."

District judge Tony Browne adjourned the case for the preparation of a pre-sentence report and warned Hutchinson all sentencing options were open.