Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham Airport stowaway Lee Jezard said he was co-pilot

Lee Jezard Image copyright PA
Image caption Lee Jezard had "very little idea how he arrived at the airport"

A drunken man who managed to sneak on to a plane claimed he was the co-pilot when he was found, a court heard.

Lee Jezard admitted boarding an empty Lufthansa plane and breaching security at Birmingham Airport by climbing through a baggage carousel, on 17 July.

At Birmingham Magistrates' Court Jezard also admitted stealing £36.45 worth of food from the airport's Caffè Nero.

Jezard, 22, of of Jubilee Avenue, Redditch, lost his job as a hotel manager when his employer found out.

David Devine, prosecuting, said despite some earlier media reports saying Jezard was at the airport after missing a flight to Ibiza, a study of all plane manifests revealed "he was never booked on to any flight".

He described the actions of Jezard as a "drunken escapade".

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'."

'Very little idea'

"He then said: 'I'm breaking into places to see if people can catch me - I go to prisons and other places'."

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.

In mitigation, 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.

Mr Khan said his client "guessed" he arrived at the airport by train.

"I am sure airport staff and management will have been having a close look at events and security will have been tightened up.... this could have been a more serious breach than it was in this case," he said.

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.

An airport spokesperson said the safety and security of its passengers was its "number one priority" and that a full internal investigation had taken place into the incident.

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