So what does Wednesday's bomb hoaxer risk?

On Wednesday 22,000 pupils were evacuated from all the schools in the towns of Aarschot, Westerlo and Diest following a bomb alert.  A hoaxer had left a note at the police station claiming a bomb would go off at 10AM, but what kind of punishment can such a hoaxer expect if he or she is caught?

Anybody found to be behind such a bomb hoax faces a custodial sentence of up to two years.  In addition the perpetrator will have to meet all the costs of the police operation as well as the costs of municipal staff involved in the evacuation.

Officials decided not to take any risks when the letter containing the bomb hoax was found: 54 schools were evacuated.  There was also a massive police presence involving officers from the federal and several local police zones used to comb out the schools.

Antwerp prosecutors say that the bomb hoax letter amounts to a threat and that can be punished with a custodial sentence of up to two years.  Moreover, anybody who incurred costs as a result of the hoax can seek compensation.  The bill can run up! Parents who had to leave their place of work to pick up kids qualify as well as municipal authorities that deployed extra staff.

A cautious estimate suggests compensation of 30,000 euros could be demanded to cover 1,000 extra working hours and then were not including the hours put in by the sniffer dogs!