Friday, July 17, 1998 Published at 00:08 GMT 01:08 UK
Phone hacker jailed
Hackers cost businesses millions
Paul Turner, a 26-year-old phone hacker who made more than £51,000 worth of calls for free, has been sentenced to two months' imprisonment for the crime.
The maximum sentence would be five years in jail, but the court heard he was studying for a place on a Higher National Diploma course and Judge Christopher Hardy said he did not want to interfere in his studies.
He added that although prison was necessary for such "sustained and sophisticated" offending he felt Mr Turner was "acting to a large extent under some sort of obsession".
He told Mr Turner that he would be out of prison in one month, in time to resume his studies in September.
Paul Turner's defence lawyer said his client was "extremely gifted" but had developed an all-consuming interest in computers because his father works with them.
He termed his client a "social isolate".
Mr Turner placed free calls around the world by misusing a service British Telecom offers that allows customers to make calls from anywhere in the UK and charge them to their home address.
He fed a series of signals into the telephone system that made BT's computers think his calls were over when they were not.
BT's fraud investigation caught up with him late last year when they saw that an unusually large number of free calls were being made from a single location - the home in Norwich where Mr Turner lives with his parents.