Sussex

Gatwick hoaxer jailed for causing bomb scare on his own flight

Rashidul Islam Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Rashidul Islam panicked about missing his flight as he could not afford another ticket

An airline passenger who reported a bomb hoax to try to delay a flight he feared he might miss has been jailed.

Rashidul Islam was running late for the EasyJet Gatwick to Marrakesh flight when he anonymously called police 45 minutes before it was due to take off.

All passengers and crew on board were evacuated from the plane on 4 May.

Islam, 32, from London, was jailed for 16 months at Lewes Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to communicating false information at an earlier hearing.

He was also banned from Gatwick Airport.

In the anonymous call, he said: "EasyJet flight 8897 leaves in 40 minutes. There may be a bomb on the plane, you need to delay it, you need to stop it now."

He then made two further threats in the following minutes.

Three-hour delay

When Islam turned up late for check-in, inquiries revealed his mobile number to be the same as the one used to make the hoax call.

He was detained and in a police interview admitted the offence, claiming there had been problems on public transport causing his delay.

Islam, of Ivy Road, Cricklewood, north London, said he had panicked about missing his flight as he would not have been able to afford another ticket.

Following his arrest, all luggage was re-screened and the 147 passengers were re-checked through security, with the flight eventually departing more than three hours later than scheduled.

The cabin crew also had to be swapped having exceeded their hours due to the delay.

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