Fine for fire hoaxer who caused evacuation of Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland

A fire hoaxer who caused the Capital’s National Museum of Scotland to be evacuated has been ordered to pay a fine.

Saturday, 31st July 2021, 4:55 am
Jamie Mushat, 36, set off the fire alarm at the Chambers Street museum in 2019 and made a malicious call to emergency services, claiming there was a blaze.

Jamie Mushat, 36, set off a fire alarm at the Chambers Street museum before calling 999 and claiming there was an ongoing blaze at the popular tourist attraction in 2019.

Two fire appliances raced to the area and hundreds of staff and visitors were forced to evacuate the building as a precaution.

But following a search of the museum it was found there was no fire and a review of the internal CCTV system showed Mushat had activated the alarm with no good reason.

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Police eventually traced Mushat to his home address three months later and he was later arrested and charged with two offences.

Mushat pleaded guilty to maliciously activating the fire alarm and phoning the fire service for the purposes of causing annoyance or inconvenience at the museum when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier this year.

He returned to the dock on Friday where Sheriff Peter McCormack sentenced him to pay a £240 fine.

The sheriff said: “You pled guilty to an offence that caused a great deal of inconvenience to the museum staff, members of the public and the police.

“But it is significant you have stayed out of trouble for two years, which is encouraging.”

Previously prosecutor Olivier Davidson-Richards told the court Mushat was spotted entering the city centre museum and making his way to the third floor balcony at around 11.10am on August 14, 2019.

He explained how Mushat deliberately activated the building’s fire alarm system, knowing that there was no fire, before maliciously calling emergency services and claiming the museum was ablaze.

Mr Davidson-Richards said: “He loitered around the fire alarm for a few minutes. He then broke the glass and activated the alarm.

“There was no fire or any emergency requiring the fire alarm activation.

“The accused then phoned the fire service to report a fire.”

The fiscal added two fire appliances attended the scene and the whole museum had to be evacuated due to the malicious call made by Mushat.

Mushat was subsequently identified from the museum’s CCTV and police eventually traced him to his home address where he told them he was “under the care of social services” and had to have a responsible adult in attendance for him to be arrested.

Police officers did not arrest Mushat, of Hailesland Park, Edinburgh, at that time but informed him he would be reported on a summons.

Solicitor John Goode, defending, said his client had carried out an “unusual, impulsive and inexplicable” offence and the court was previously told Mushat had recently been diagnosed with autism.

Mushat pleaded guilty to maliciously smashing glass on a fire alarm at the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, on August 14, 2019.

He also admitted to telephoning the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for the purposes of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety and claiming there was a fire at the museum on the same date.

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