Bomb hoax man is jailed

PUBLISHED: 11:19 23 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

Peter Aldred

Peter Aldred

JOKING that he had a bomb in his bag when in fact it contained two Nessie monster soft toys and sweets has cost a man his freedom. Peter Aldred blurted out the lie at Inverness Airport, Scotland, as he was on his way home to Oakfield Avenue, Hitchin. It p

JOKING that he had a bomb in his bag when in fact it contained two Nessie monster soft toys and sweets has cost a man his freedom.

Peter Aldred blurted out the lie at Inverness Airport, Scotland, as he was on his way home to Oakfield Avenue, Hitchin.

It prompted a full scale security alert. Police negotiators, three ambulances and a fire crew were among the emergency services which rushed to the airport.

EasyJet flight 192 to Luton was delayed for two-and-a-half hours, costing the budget airline at least £25,000.

Aldred was led from the aircraft in handcuffs and taken to a police cell. And on Tuesday he was jailed for two months.

Sentencing him, Sheriff Alasdair MacFadyen said the 41-year-old's conduct had been "irresponsible and reckless".

Deputy fiscal Ross McKay told Inverness Sheriff Court that Aldred had been in a window seat next to an emergency exit when a member of the cabin crew asked him to put the bag in an overhead locker. After he ignoring her initial requests for the luggage to be stored away she then asked what was in it, to which he replied "a bomb".

A 62-year-old woman sitting beside him remarked that it was a stupid thing to say but the court heard Aldred just shrugged and laughed.

Mr McKay revealed the plane and its 124 passengers were delayed while an emergency response was mounted at the airport - during all of which Aldred fell asleep. The father of one, who is the chief executive of a health products company based in Hitchin, was eventually arrested after armed police boarded the aircraft.

The remaining passengers were evacuated to allow a full scale search to be carried out. Aldred, who at an earlier hearing admitted committing a breach of the peace on December 12, previously hit out at the level of police response surrounding the incident.

Speaking outside court after his first appearance in January, he said the situation had been blown out of all proportion.

"It's absolute madness. I know they have to be cautious about these things but this is taking it to extremes," he added.

Defence agent Kevin McGinness said his client had fallen asleep because he believed a problem at Luton Airport was responsible for the delay.

"It was a momentary error of judgment which had far reaching consequences," he added.

A spokesman for easyJet, which has banned Aldred from all its flights for six months, welcomed the sentence and hoped it would act as a warning to others. "We have a zero tolerance policy towards anyone not respecting safety and security regulations and we hope that this will be an example to others that making such foolish statements is not a joke," she said.

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