A telecoms engineer who sent abusive messages to Lincolnshire’s Chief Fire Officer in response to the service axing Fireman Sam from its promotional material was jailed for ten weeks at Lincoln Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Jeremy Flashman, 56, rang fire officer Les Britzman and swore at him after the officer was interviewed by Piers Morgan on breakfast television after the story first reported by The Lincolnite went viral and gained national media attention.
Although Mr Britzman hung up he later received an abusive email and a voicemail message in which Flashman was abusive about the fire chief’s mother, his partner and the officer himself.
District Judge Peter Veits, passing sentence, told Flashman: “This was an absolute tirade.
“You sent an abusive email. Not satisfied with that you got through to his work mobile and started off with personal abuse.
“You then sent an email. It was absolutely abysmal behaviour.
“Whatever the rights and wrongs of Fireman Sam, the Chief Fire Officer did not deserve this level of abuse.
“There is no other sentence but prison that is appropriate for this.”
Jeremy Flashman, 56, of Kings Road, Southminster, Essex, admitted three charges of sending an offensive, indecent or obscene message to Mr Britzman on 11 September this year. He was jailed for 10 weeks and ordered to pay a £121 surcharge.
Kate Minihane, prosecuting, said that following the Piers Morgan interview being broadcast the fire officer began receiving abusive messages about the Fireman Sam decision.
“He received a call on his work mobile from a withheld number. It was a male with a Southern accent who said ‘You f***ing c**t’. Mr Britzman hung up.”
She said Mr Britzman then received a “particularly nasty” email. Later when he checked his voicemail messages there was a further message from the same man who made the earlier call.
WARNING — STRONG LANGUAGE
In the message Flashman called Mr Britzman a “sick paedophile” and said fire officer’s mother should have been castrated to prevent him being born. He was also abusive to Mr Britzman’s partner.
Flashman said “It’s f***ing Fireman Sam not Fireman Samantha. You f***ing s***bag. Who do you think you are?”
Mrs Minihane said “Mr Britzman found the contents deeply disturbing and upsetting. He finds it hard to understand how someone could get so angry and abusive about something like this.
Flashman was traced through the mobile phone which he used to make the calls.
Tony Freitas, for Flashman, said “He knows full well his actions have gone too far.
“He describes it as a moment of madness. A mad rant. He is very embarrassed.
“He apologises profoundly to Mr Britzman.”