Protesters who chained themselves to plane at Stansted Airport are sentenced

PUBLISHED: 08:41 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:41 07 February 2019

Stansted Airport. Picture: MARK DAVISON

Stansted Airport. Picture: MARK DAVISON

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A group of 15 protestors who obstructed a plane in a restricted area at Stansted Airport have escaped jail sentences.

Nine women and six men were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday) after being found guilty of an aviation security offence on December 10, following a 10-week trial.

They were also ordered to complete unpaid work and were made the subject of a 12-month exclusion requirement.

On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 15 people used bolt cutters to breach the security fence at the airport and gained access to a restricted area airside.

They locked their arms in tubing to obstruct a plane’s wheel in a protest and refused to unchain themselves when police arrived.

Officers were forced to cut them out of tubing before they were arrested.

Their actions resulted in the runway closing and a number of flights being cancelled. Airlines also suffered a financial loss and other flights had to be diverted to other airports.

Superintendent Nick Morris, Stansted Airport’s commander, said: “Stansted Airport is one of the country’s busiest airports, managing many thousands of plane and passenger movements every day.

“When members of the protest group forced their way into a restricted area, their motives were unclear and dangerous.

“They then chained themselves together to obstruct a plane – a plane that was due to leave the UK imminently – and this put them and others in real danger.

“These actions went on to cause a significant amount of disruption to the airport and passengers and this is totally unacceptable.

“Let this case be a clear reminder, entering a restricted site no matter what the motive carries risk and with that risk you must pay the consequences.”

Essex Police works closely with the airport operator and partner, Manchester Airports Group, to continually improve security at Stansted.

After the incident additional security measures were implemented to further safeguard the airport perimeter.

The following convictions were given:

Emma Hughes, 38, of Vicarage Road, Leytonstone, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work;

Melanie Evans, 35, of Vicarage Road, Leytonstone, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work;

Melanie Stickland, 35, of Borwick Avenue, Walthamstow, received a nine months jail term suspended for 18 months and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Lyndsay Burtonshaw, 28, of no fixed address, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work;

May Mackeith, 33, of Clementina Road, Leytonstone, received a 12-month community order and 20 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement;

Laura Clayson, 28, Lords Close, Greenwich, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work;

Helen Brewer, 28, of Markfield Road, Hackney, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work;

Ruth Potts, 44, of Ashton Gate Terrace, Bristol, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work;

Jyotsna Ram, 33, of Stanhope Gardens, Haringey, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work;

Nicholas Sigsworth, 29, of Clementia Road, Leytonstone, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work;

Alistair Tamlit, 30, of no fixed address, received a nine month jail term suspended for 18-months and was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work;

Benjamin Smoke, 27, of Rowley Gardens, Haringey, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work;

Edward Thacker, 29, of Markfield Road, Hackney , received a nine month jail term suspended for 18-months and was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work;

Nathan Clack, 30, of Lords Close, Lambeth, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work;

Joseph McGahan, 35, of Clementina Road, Leytonstone, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

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