Letchworth fake pilot avoids jail again after admitting aircraft part thefts

Wes Tierney, pictured at Letchworth's 2013 Armed Forces Day celebrations. Picture: Archant

Wes Tierney, pictured at Letchworth's 2013 Armed Forces Day celebrations. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A Walter Mitty airman from Letchworth who flew without a licence has now admitted stealing historic aircraft parts – and dodged prison again.

Wesley Tierney, of Linden Green, received a suspended jail sentence in March after he admitted repeated unlicensed flying and forgery over a period of four years.

The self-styled “can-do, cocksure” 26-year-old was then found to have stolen and hidden around £10,000 worth of aviation items from North Weald Airfield in Epping Forest.

Tierney appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday charged with three counts of theft after the stolen goods were found in a storage room he was renting.

He changed his pleas from not guilty to guilty, upon which Recorder Sandeep Kainth – who also sentenced Tierney in March – imposed a fresh 16-month prison sentence, suspended for a year.

A former employee at North Weald Airfield – who asked to remain anonymous – told the Comet: “I’m shocked that he has got away with not going to prison.

“Considering he already has a suspended sentence, I can’t quite understand how he gets away with having another.

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“He’s living the charmed life. As soon as cracks started to appear in his persona it got worse and worse.

“He fooled everybody into thinking that he’s a respectable young lad.”

The crimes happened between March 2015 and May 2016, with the stolen items including two fuel cans, flight strip holders, a clinometer and hand clamping pillars.

This conviction comes after Tierney received an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 14 months, in March – after admitting three counts of acting as flight crew of an aircraft without holding an appropriate licence and two counts of forgery with attempt to deceive, committed between 2012 and 2016.

He flew planes from the Old Warden Aerodrome in Bedfordshire and two RAF bases – RAF Wittering and RAF Kirton – for four years without a licence or training.

The court heard that Tierney had piloted a number of aircraft types over this period, and among other things taken his former partner and their four and five-year-old children into the air – along with other people “he wished to impress”.

He had no liability insurance cover – and Recorder Kainth told him on that occasion that if there had been a crash “there was a substantial risk of harm which cannot be quantified”.

Tierney told the judge at that hearing that he had “let lies escalate” and “let the situation get out of control”.

He said: “I was trying to fit in with others. I was trying to be able to fit into conversations.

“The only relief I have was the relief of finally being caught and having my cycle of lies broken. It was a relief not to have to pretend in the bar or the mess anymore.

“I was a can-do, cocksure individual – that was the person I was. My guidance in my teens was a little misguided.”

It was also said at that hearing that Tierney now worked in a London museum, taking home £1,900 a month.

In addition to his new suspended sentence, Tierney must observe an 8pm-to-5am curfew for six months.