Drunken plane spot­ter climbs air­port fence ‘for a bet­ter view’

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

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”.

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