A man who managed to get through llayers of airport security before boarding an empty plane at Birmingham Airport says he was too drunk to recall how he did it.
Lee Jezard, 22, pleaded guilty today to getting aboard a Lufthansa plane and evading security measures at Birmingham Airport by climbing through a baggage carousel, on July 17.
Appearing at Birmingham Magistrates Court, Jezard - who lost his job as a hotel manager when his employer found out about the incident - also admitted stealing £36.45 worth of foodstuffs from the airport's Caffe Nero.
David Devine, prosecuting, said that despite reports Jezard was at the airport after missing a flight to the holiday island of Ibiza, a study of all plane manifests revealed "he was never booked onto any flight". Words: PA.
He described the actions of Jezard, of Jubilee Avenue, Redditch, Worcestershire, as a "drunken escapade".
In mitigation, Jezard's solicitor Tariq Khan said his client "really had very little idea how he arrived at the airport" after going on a drinking binge with friends in Birmingham city centre.
It emerged in court that police had already spoken to a "wandering" and "clearly intoxicated" Jezard, after spotting him in other parts of the airport in the hours before the security breach, added Mr Khan.
It was the same police officer who later "frog-marched him off the aeroplane" following his discovery on board.
Mr Khan added that in a further "bizarre" act, Jezard was seen on CCTV behind a coffee shop counter at the deserted airport "charging his mobile and checking it".
Jezard was discovered aboard a Lufthansa Embraer 195 by cleaning staff, and initially told them "I'm the co-pilot", said Mr Devine.
"When they asked him for ID, he had none, and then told them 'I work for the Navy'."
"He then said: 'I'm breaking into places to see if people can catch me - I go to prisons and other places'."
Airport police arrived and the man was arrested, and interviewed.
He told officers: "I was trying to show how easy it was to get on that plane - and I did it. I told the cleaners I was the co-pilot."
Jezard struggled to recall everything that had happened, telling police he "wanted a walk around and thought it would be a good idea".
Security cameras showed Jezard crawling through the opening of a baggage carousel, getting on to the airport's tarmac apron, and then getting aboard the plane.
Mr Khan said his client "really had very little idea how it was he arrived at the airport, but the guess is it was by train".
Although a relatively low-level security breach, Mr Khan said the incident had implications beyond Jezard's drunken activities.
"I am sure airport staff and management will have been having a close look at events and security will have been tightened up, because of the implications this could have been a more serious breach than it was in this case," he added.
His solicitor said Jezard's crimes had left him "ostracised" by his own family, who were "not impressed" by his night-time escapades.
"He had a very good job as a manager in a hotel and has lost that job and is now without employment," said Mr Khan.
Jezard was fined £95 for each of the three offences, ordered to pay full compensation to the coffee shop, together with £185 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Following the hearing, an airport spokesperson said: "The safety and security of our passengers is our number one priority.
"The individual penetrated the terminal boundary and was subsequently arrested by the police. A full investigation has taken place."
Airport security gone mad?
Drunk gets through Birmingham Airport security and boards empty plane
Last March, a toddler in a wheelchair was subjected to an invasive body search and swabbed for explosives on his way to Disneyland. His father, who filmed the incident, which took place at Chicago O'Hare Airport, said: "He was trembling with fear... I was told I could not touch him or come near him during this process."
A man who is believed to posess "the world's largest penis" sparked a security scare after airport staff at San Francisco International Airport thought he might have been concealing a weapon. Jonah Falcon (pictured) was subjected to a rigorous patdown and had powder sprinkled on his pants to check for explosives...
Last Christmas, an 85-year-old woman in a wheelchair claimed she was strip-searched at JFK Airport, New York. Leonore Zimmerman, who has a defibrillator for heart problems, was worried that the scanners would interfere with her life-saving device, so asked for a pat down. Instead, she says she was taken to a private room and told to remove her clothes in a humiliating search that also left injured. The process took so long that she also missed her flight. Howver, the TSA denied the incident had taken place.
In June, a passenger was left devastaed after a TSA official spilled the ashes of his grandfather over the terminal floor. John Gross was attempting to take the ashes home to Indianapolis when he was stopped at security. He claims she dipped her finger into the jar, spilling its contents onto the floor, despite TSA rules that state that a crematory container are to be opened in no circumstances.
This summer, a report revealed that a disproportionate amount of women were being singled out for strip searches at Gatwick Airport. The government's chief investigator of immigration John Vine, also revealed that Afro-Caribbean women in particular were being targeted. Reasons given for strip searches by Border Force staff at Gatwicks' North Terminal included only buying a ticket one day before travel, they were carrying £200 in cash, and because they were visiting the UK to look for hair and beauty products. New guidance on searches has since been rewritten.
One US passenger Mandi Hamlin hit the press a couple of years ago when she was stopped and wanded by a TSA employee and asked to remove her metal nipple rings. One came out with no problem, but the other got stuck - and eventually had to be removed using pliers. OUCH.
Last year, security officials at Gatwick Airport banned a passenger from carrying a toy soldier on a transatlantic flight. The three-inch plastic toy gun was branded a 'firearm'. Passenger Julie Lloyd, who had bought the figure as a present for her husband, told the Daily Mail:"It is only three inches long and there are no moving parts. There isn't even a trigger." She eventually posted it to herself instead.
When two children tried to take their Christmas gift of Play-Doh past the checkpoint at New Orleans airport, an overzealous agent confiscated it, despite the fact Play-Doh is not on the list of prohibited items. Apparently, aents can use "their own discretion". Never mind that millions have been invested on explosive detection equipment: it wasn't deemed necesary to use it. Running Play-Doh through the explosives detector would have taken under a minute...
In 2011, security officials at Florida airport patted down a 95-year-old cancer sufferer and made her remove her adult 'nappy' during the search. She was then forced to go through airport security without any underwear. CNN reported that Jena Weber was travelling with her mother, who was in the final stages of her battle with leukaemia, last June to see relatives. In response to the incident, the TSA said:"We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to proper procedure."
... meanwhile, in August 2012, a boy of 11 managed to slip through security at Manchester Airport and fly to Rome without a passport or barding pass. Liam Corcoran evaded five security checks to join the Jet2.com flight unaccompanied.
2012 was the year of "naked" body scanner in the UK - and it caused massive controversy. Passengers refusing to pass through them have, in the past, been banned from flying. The scanners -0 which gave security officers an eyeful - have now been banned by the EU, (ironically on safety grounds) - but not before millions have been spent on installing them... plane madness? We think so!
Top Ten Most Embarrassing Airport Security Incidents
Drunk gets through Birmingham Airport security and boards empty plane
A woman was left mortified when a pair of ‘large discoloured pants’ were produced from her hand luggage while travelling with her business clients who were waiting in the queue behind her.
A woman travelling with her parents was left extremely red faced when a rather large and obvious sex toy was revealed on the screens as it passed through the scanner.
Another unfortunate traveller, this time male, was heading off on a romantic break with his new girlfriend when he was stopped for a routine search. Underwear was drawn forth from his hand luggage, complete with ‘obvious skid marks’. He claimed he hadn’t intentionally packed them to wear.
One woman was pulled aside with armed police on standby as the scanner revealed a ‘belt of bullets’…which turned out to be a row of AA batteries.
One man confessed that his plans for a mid-air pre-holiday proposal were dashed when he inadvertently set off the metal detector. The public search that followed required him to produce the ring from his pocket in front of his on-looking girlfriend, who immediately clocked what it was.
Another woman, who claimed to always take a bag of soap powder on holiday for emergency clothes washing purposes, was confronted by security staff in front of her astonished grandchildren as the package was mistaken for a vast quantity of illegal class A drugs.
One man claimed to have been highly embarrassed when asked to remove a large tub of ‘personal lubricant’ as it contravened the airplane liquid allowance.
Another man felt humiliated when a collection of pornographic magazines in his hand luggage was revealed during a routine check.
A man in his forties claimed that he ‘struggled to live down’ his airport experience, when haemorrhoid cream was pulled out of his case in front of his new and younger partner as they went away on their first romantic break together.
A woman was left mortified when airport staff questioned a product in her bag which turned out to be anti-viral drugs for genital herpes. Her new partner worked as a pharmacist, so quickly realised what they were upon seeing them.