Drunken plane spotter climbs airport fence ‘for a better view’
A DRUNKEN plane spotter was arrested just 65ft from Birmingham Airport’s runway – after scaling an 8ft perimeter fence for a “better view” of the aircraft.
Aftab Ali, from Witton Road, Aston, downed two bottles of vodka before sparking a security alert by climbing over the barrier, which was topped with razor wire, at the height of the holiday season earlier this month.
He was arrested only 20 metres short of the runway, where planes were taking off and landing, and told police the fence was “in his way” and blocking his view. The 23-year-old appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court to admit a charge under the Aviation Security Act of enter- ing a security restricted area without authority. He was fined £300, with £115 costs, after the court heard the offence did not carry a prison term.
Ed Counsell, prosecuting, said police were alerted at 9.20am on August 12. “There are signs clearly stating it’s a restricted area and the fence also indicates that,” he said.
“Mr Ali had injuries to his hands and legs from climbing the fence, which had barbed wire on the top. He was clearly drunk, and laughing, saying ‘I want to see the planes’.”
After being taken to a police station, Ali told officers he had finished a nightshift and drunk two bottles of vodka.
“He said he was lying on the grass mound next to the perimeter fence but decided the fence was spoiling his view so climbed over it but then fell over,” Mr Counsell said.
Ash Mistry, defending, said Ali had drunk “a lot of alcohol in a short space of time”.
Magistrates told Ali that his actions could have had “extremely serious consequences” for passengers if planes had needed to be diverted.
Asked whether the alert had triggered a security upgrade at the airport’s perimeter, a Birmingham Airport spokeswoman said the area was “compliant with requirements set out by the Department for Transport”.