Joke about blowing something up on Twitter, get arrested

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A man who threatened on Twitter to blow up Doncaster airport has been found guilty of sending a “menacing electronic communication”. He is thought to be the first person in the UK country to have been arrested for comments on Twitter. He is now appears to be the firstsecond person to be found guilty for being “menacing” on Twitter in the UK (see below).

On January 6 Paul Chambers joked on Twitter “Robin Hood airport is closed,” he wrote. “You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” He was annoyed that snowfall threatened to delay his plans to travel to Ireland on January 15.

On January 13 the local police came to his house and arrested 26-year-old Chambers under the Terrorism Act and produced a piece of paper, showing him a print-out of his Twitter page.

Although, alas, the Police had never heard of Twitter.

Then again Twitter has heard of them. #twitterjoketrial is now trending on Twitter, producing many “I am Spartacus” type tweets about blowing something up.

We will now add this to the evidence that we are all now living in Minority Report.

Update: Chambers’ case came a few days after this.

  • Iain Haywood

    Funny actually, I was considering a similar outburst a couple of days ago relating to the wishful delivery of a tactical nuke to the Westfield shopping centre, but thought better of it.

    • kel

      Actually, this is not the first time we’ve seen someone get in trouble for tweeting something.

      Scenario 1: Twitter billboard makes 3 prominent journalist suspended

      • kel

        Scenario 2: A simple twitpic made a train toll-fee collector, lose his job.

        I say this technology (twitter) makes some men more ridiculous.

      • sean

        spamware a**hole. Techcrunch can’t can’t you scan for this crap?

      • leslie


        epic facepalm

    • Shan

      This is why one should use

      It allows you to enter anonymous comments and go away without being tracked or arrested for it..

      When such a service is available why people have their outbursts on twitter instead of abusethem..

  • Iaax Page.

    you are missing a p in “local Police”

    • davidthedave

      You should never take the P out of the police.

  • Nazim Jamil

    local police, not ‘local olice’

  • Noel H.

    It’s a well known fact that people who really do intend blowing things up always tweet their intentions, just before sending the police an email containing their name, address and intended location in 1 hours time.

    It’s a harsh lesson for Mr Chambers that, unfortunately, most people are stupid.

    • Anand Srinivasan

      Let me understand this absurd verdict..If the person had said ‘I am going to screw the airport staff’, he is going to be charged with attempted rape?

  • Matt

    “in the UK country” ???
    It is either “in the UK” or “UK countries” – England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland…

    • Noel H.

      You mean Northern Ireland, right? ;)

    • Paul OFlaherty

      You do mean “Northern Ireland” – right? Last I checked I’m not living in the UK, unless we got invaded during the night. ;)

      • Carter

        Why do you constantly spam this site with your shitty website?

      • Paul OFlaherty

        Who’s spamming what now?

  • Vishal Sanjay

    Well Twitter is a dangerous tool, it just made an Indian minister to loose his job, it almost ended the political career of an australian student, so the next time we tweet me must think twice.

  • Paul OFlaherty

    I wonder how they proved intent? After all a joke is not performing the action and does not prove intent to perform the action.

  • http://n/a Adam Hartley

    I’m sorry, Mike, but you are wrong on this occasion. While it is patently clear that this guy doesn’t seem like he meant to blow up Doncaster airport, the fact that he said it on a public communications system still warrants his arrest and fine.

  • James Green

    They don’t need to prove he intended to blow up the building they only need to prove he tweeted that message. He isn’t charged with intent to blow-up the airport but sending a menacing message.

  • Luka

    This blows! I swear, police blowing things out of proportion will blow up in their face!

    • Footy Fan

      Arrest Him!!!

      In all seriousness, I think the arse deserves it – better safe than sorry.

      Tomorrow, if he does blow it up, we’ll blame the people for not checking up on him.

  • http://n/a Adam Hartley


    Can you elucidate on this? I’m a little unsure about your reasoning.


    • Luka

      I was trying to make a joke……

      • Noel H.

        Yup, that’s what Mr Chambers said.

  • Marvin the Martian

    I plan to use my Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator to destroy the Earth unless you people stop blocking my view of Venus!

  • http://n/a Adam Hartley

    Sorry. I’m a bit sensitive about this. I just think people that use Twitter really should be aware that they cannot tweet shit like this. Even if it is clear to 99.9 per cent of normal folk that it is a joke. *Anybody* can potentially see your tweets. And the police don’t like jokes about blowing up airports much, no matter how funny or what the context may be!!!

    • Stephen Robinson

      I’m going to blow up big ben.

      • Anand Srinivasan

        You’re next..

  • http://n/a Adam Hartley

    They also really fucking hate jokes about Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulators, Marvin.

  • Merlin

    He is now appears to be

  • Merlin

    ” He is now appears to be”

    should be

    ” He now appears to be “

  • hb

    The update link is down

  • Stephen Robinson

    I’ll do it right now and see if I get arrested.

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    […] Reports are now coming in that Paul Chambers has been found guilty, received a 1,000 pound fine ($1500) and of course, now has a criminal record. […]

  • Joke about blowing something up on Twitter, get arrested
  • Trace Cohen

    Social media is still in the wild west phase of it’s laws and regulations so this was done to clearly set a precedent to anyone looking to do it in the future. He obviously said it jokingly but you have to take everything seriously unfortunately so I support the arrest of him. Sorry buddy!

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  • Douglas Putnam

    As Paul Carr of this very TechCrunch blog might say, dipshits should not be allowed to use the Internet.

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    […] arbitrary tweets? Tweeting about what color panties you are wearing won’t get you arrested, but joking about blowing up an airport will. I know you’re frustrated. I know you equate airports to crying babies and a chunk taken out […]

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