"I'm the co-pilot". That was the brazen response from a drunken English man after being discovered on an empty plane.
Lee Jezard, 22, managed to sneak through the baggage carousel at Birmingham Airport, before walking across the tarmac and onto a Lufthansa plane, the Guardian reported.
He was only caught after cleaning staff found him asleep in the toilet, the Mirror reported.
When his initial co-pilot response didn't get much traction with the cleaners, he tried to explain he worked for the Navy.
But the cleaner's weren't buying that either and he eventually confessed to his crime and was arrested by airport police.
He told officers: "I was trying to show how easy it was to get on that plane - and I did it. I told the cleaners I was the co-pilot."
He struggled to recall everything that had happened, telling police he "wanted a walk around and thought it would be a good idea".
Security cameras showed Jezard crawling through the opening of a baggage carousel, getting on to the airport’s tarmac apron, and then getting aboard the plane.
Jezard pleaded guilty on Wednesday (UK time) to boarding the empty plane on July 17, breaching airport security.
He also stole £36.45 (NZ$72.29) worth of foodstuffs from the airport's Caffe Nero coffee shop.
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Birmingham magistrates fined Jezard – who also lost his job as a hotel manager after the incident – £95 for each of the three offences.
He was also ordered to pay full compensation to the coffee shop, together with £185 of costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
His lawyer, Tariq Khan said he had no idea how he arrived at the airport after going on a drinking binge with friends in Birmingham's city centre.
It was initially reported Jezard had missed a flight to Ibiza but after a police examination of flight bookings it was found he was never booked on a flight.
Khan said although it was a relatively low-level security breach, the incident had implications beyond Jezard's drunken activities.
"I am sure airport staff and management will have been having a close look at events, and security will have been tightened up, because of the implications this could have been a more serious breach than it was in this case," he said.
However, aviation sources told the Mirror it was "one of the biggest security breaches at a British airport".
Police prosecutor David Devine said Jezard's response to the cleaners was that he had done similar things in the past
“He said: I’m breaking into places to see if people can catch me - I go to prisons and other places," Devine said.
- © Fairfax NZ News