A CLEANER who was behind a bomb scare in Reading has been branded as 'reckless' and 'hugely irresponsible' by police.

Sergio Costa, of Elm Park Road, Reading, admitted to planting the package in the toilets of The Oracle on June 12.

Superintendent Stan Gilmour, Local Policing Area commander for Reading, slammed the 46-year-old, who planted a hoax bomb in an effort to be seen as a hero.

The item was not dangerous, but Costa then reported it as suspicious, causing the centre to be evacuated. A large amount of emergency services attend the scene, including Army officers.

Supt Gilmour said: “Costa’s actions were hugely irresponsible and caused a great amount of disruption to emergency services and community concern.

“Police, fire and ambulance services attended this incident in order to ensure public safety. The armed forces also had to be called to the scene to establish what the device was and if it was a threat.

“By placing this item in the Oracle centre, Costa wasted emergency service time and resources, placing other members of the public at risk.

“Members of the public were understandably greatly concerned throughout this incident.

“All of this was completely unnecessary and would have been totally avoided had Costa not decided to go out of his way to recklessly cause disruption.”

He was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay £170 in costs after admitting to the offences at Reading Crown Court on Monday.

The hoax device caused massive disruption across the town as buses and cars were re-routed to avoid The Oracle.