Airport gate-crasher

Last updated 09:40 23/06/2014

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The man who scaled the fence at New Plymouth airport and banged on the window of a plane has been trespassed from the facility.

About 2.45pm yesterday a pilot in a Cessna 182 was refueling at the pumps, when a man jumped the fence, knocked on the window and asked the pilot to let him in, airport manager Kevin Hill said.

''It gave the pilot one hell of a fright,'' Hill said.

''The pilot has radioed the tower, who alerted management and airport security staff.''

In the meantime the man has climbed back over the fence and sat himself down outside the terminal.

When staff approached the man he got abusive and walked to his car and drove off.

''Staff were on the phone to police and gave them his licence plate number,'' Hill said.

New Plymouth police Sergeant Bruce Irvine said the man had been spoken to by police.

Hill said the airport had considered prosecution under the Civil Aviation Act, but given the man's mental health issues it was decided that a trespass order be put in place instead.

''We didn't think prosecution would be successful,'' he said.

''If he turns up again he can be arrested.''

Although fencing complies with regulations for an airport that size, Hill said they would look at upgrading during the redevelopment.

''We will look at putting in full security fencing that will be higher and lined with barbed wire.''

Hill said there had been little issue with security breaches in the eight years he had run the airport.

''It's in the back of everyone's mind. We give every employee a security booklet to read and encourage them to be vigilant and when in doubt to tell management.''

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- Taranaki Daily News

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