Warning over 'endemic' drink problem at Glasgow airport

Warning over 'endemic' drink problem at Glasgow airport

Disruptive behaviour is becoming “endemic” at Glasgow airport due to the ease with which passengers can drink in terminals, a sheriff has said.

Sheriff James Spy made the claim after fining two men who alarmed other passengers by claiming that there was a bomb on their flight. They were on a stag do and were very drunk.

The airport insisted that such incidents were “extremely rare,” The Times reported.

Louis Dodds and Mark Harkness were due to fly to Alicante from Glasgow on a Jet2.com flight in June to celebrate a friend’s wedding when they claimed that there was a bomb on the flight.

The police were contacted and officers arrived to find Dodds, 28, and Harkness, 30, asleep on the floor of the departure lounge. They were barred from getting on the flight and arrested. They never made it to their intended destination.

Sheriff Spy ordered Dodds and Harkness, both of Dumfries, to pay £750 in fines — £250 for being drunk in the airport and £500 for the bomb claim at Paisley sheriff court yesterday.

“Disruptive behaviour at Glasgow airport is becoming endemic... due to the availability of duty-free alcohol in airport precincts,” he said.

The pair had both earlier admitted being drunk in the airport and to making the bomb claim.

Dodds and Harkness admitted being drunk or under the influence of drugs or other intoxicating substances in a restricted area of the airport.

They also admitted a charge of making other passengers “suffer fear or alarm” by their threatening and abusive behaviour.

When they appeared for sentencing Procurator Fiscal Deputy Colin Wilson said that the incident happened on June 1 as a Jet2 flight was about to depart.

The prosecutor said: “Two drunk passengers were heard to say, ‘there’s a bomb on your flight’. Police attended a few minutes later and found the two male passengers to be sleeping on the floor.”

Dodds and Harkness were detained and informed that they would not be allowed to fly to Alicante.

Police officers said that the two men were so drunk that they could not be cautioned and charged.

David Nicholson, defending, told Sheriff Spy that they were “deeply ashamed of their actions” and had been banned from flying with Jet2.com.

“They were due to attend a stag and clearly they missed out”, he said. “I understand the drink was consumed at the airport in the departure lounge as they were waiting for the flight - it appears airports have this effect for some people.

“They are both now banned from utilising a particular airline.”

A Glasgow airport spokesman said: “Our figures clearly show that incidents of this nature are extremely rare and the overwhelming majority of passengers have a safe and memorable experience.

“Through our Campus Watch initiative we work closely with our airline partners, retailers, caterers and Police Scotland to pre-empt and address any disruptive behaviour, as was the case with these two individuals who were prevented from flying.

“With less than two crimes per 100,000 passengers, which cover a broad range of offences, Glasgow airport provides a safe environment for the millions of passengers who travel through our doors every year.

“This exceptionally small number is testament to the rigorous and proactive approach of all those involved in Campus Watch.”

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