Incident Reports

Twitter Joke Prompts U.K. Terror Arrest

MyFox Houston reports a British man was arrested on suspected terror charges after airing his frustration at air travel delays on social networking site Twitter.

Airport security around the globe has been heightened since the failed Christmas Day bombing aboard a Detroit-bound jet, with fears of further terrorist attacks making security and police forces jumpy.

When Robin Hood Airport near Sheffield, northern England was closed Jan. 6 due to terrible weather conditions a man joked on his Twitter page, “Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your [expletive] together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” The Independent newspaper reported Monday.

However South Yorkshire police force took Chambers’ joke to be a threat, and arrested him a week later on suspicion of communicating a bomb hoax under the U.K.’s Criminal Law Act 1977.

South Yorkshire police confirmed Monday they had arrested a man in his 20s regarding alleged threats about Robin Hood Airport discovered on a social networking website.


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  • I agree with the arrest, people need to watch what they say. It is one thing to say a general joke with friends (which is still wrong in this case) and specifly identifying a location (target). During WW II there was a saying “Loose Lips Sink Ships” during the war when she lived in NY City they could see the ships that left the harbor that day being torpedoed that night (a glow on the harizon). Often debris and bodies would wash up a few days after. We and our reporters need to watch what we say.

  • Now who can say that the terrorist’s are not winning the battle? It appears that freedom of speech, fear of everyone around them, fear of the use of public transportation, etc… I agree that people should be responsible for their actions and speech but would he have been arrested for ‘terroristic threats’ prior to the 9-ll attack?

    We (All Countries) are all in a transition from the freedoms we shared before, to more of a “controlled” existence due to the threats imposed by all terror organizations’ actions against us in the western world. To see examples of this, try to take an International Flight. There is now, ever increasing monitoring of all of your local and global communications, in example: all cell, internet and phone communications, etc…).

    I fully agree that common sense should be exhibited in a person’s communications and actions, but, an equal amount of common sense in the reaction to the comments made is needed. I am sure this man did not realize the seriousness of his actions prior to posting the comments he made on Twitter.

    Suppose this was your teen age child whom was on their way to, in his eyes, a well deserved vacation. In school, they have made a similar type of comment in a text message to friends, never really meaning what they said. They were venting frustration in the only way they know in this digital age, via one of the many social networks. The police arrive at your door to transport and charge them with a “Federal” charge that will now stay with them for the rest of their life? Would you still agree with the arrest? Yes, this man was no longer a minor but, how far is this going to go?

    The Constitution of the United States grants Americans the right of freedom of speech. Where is the line that changes from free speech to terroristic activity? With the implementation of new laws regarding National Defense, what parts of the Constitution are being eroded in the defense of the US, all due to the terror organizations that are attacking us?

    Again I ask, ‘Who is winning the war on terror?’…

    Attack this threat in the right battlefield. Reprimand the indiscretions made by the general public and attack the cause of this new focus. Take the battle to the terrorists and stop the attack on the ones we are supposed to be protecting. We as “Citizens of the World” need to speak with one voice and show our commitment to ending this attack on our way of life simply because we do not share the thoughts and beliefs of the ones that are attacking us!

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