Drunk man cannot recall plane stunt
A 22-year-old man who breached layers of airport security before boarding an empty plane was too drunk to recall how he did it.
Lee Jezard 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".
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."