A London man finds himself in the grips of the law after attempting to delay the flight he was on by calling to make a fake bomb threat when he realized he could miss it due to traffic.
Rashidul Islam, 32, was on a booked EasyJet flight from Gatwick to Marrakesh to meet his fiancée but upon realizing he was running late to check in and could miss the flight due to issues with public transport, he decided to do the unthinkable by anonymously calling the police to make a fake bomb threat so he could buy some time, a statement from the Sussex police said Friday, according to ABC News.
“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 said in his call to the operator.
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His hoax played out fine as the flight was delayed with passengers and crew evacuated for authorities to investigate the report.
“The hoaxer made two further threats in the following minutes – causing crew on the 5.40pm flight to Marrakesh to be evacuated and all 147 passengers to be checked again by security,” a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said, according to Independent.
“Luggage also had to be removed and re-screened, resulting in a three-hour delay at Britain’s second busiest airport on a bank holiday weekend.”
Upon arriving at the airport to check in, his luck ran out as his number matched the anonymous call. He was subsequently arrested.
“Islam first ran into transport difficulty when his train to Gatwick unexpectedly terminated at St Pancras.
“He instead took a taxi from the central London station but traffic meant he would have arrived at the airport with only minutes to get through security,” the spokesman continued.
“The hoax initially succeeded in giving Islam time to check in but he was arrested at the gate after police traced him as the anonymous caller.”
Islam, who confessed to the hoax told the police after his arrest he was worried he could miss his flight as he could not afford to buy another ticket. He was, however, arraigned before court and sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty to communicating false information, Independent further reports.
“Rashidul Islam suggests his 999 calls were simply a misguided solution to running late and not intended to cause genuine fear,” Natalie Smith of the CPS said.
“But the bomb hoax was intended to make authorities fear there was a genuine enough threat that they needed to search the plane.
“The consequences were so serious that flight crew had to be evacuated, passengers rechecked and luggage removed – at a cost of three extra hours on the runway and £30,000 to the airline.”
He has also been banned from Gatwick Airport.
“This sentence should send a message that creating a bomb scare is no trivial matter. These threats have a major impact on everyone in the airport – diverting multiple agencies from core duties such as assisting passengers, providing security or carrying out counter-terrorism checks.”
Islam’s sentence wasn’t the end of his woes. He has also subsequently been slapped with a 42-month money laundering sentence in an unrelated offence.