A HOAXER claimed there was a bomb on an aircraft because he was late for his flight.

Rashidul Islam wanted to catch the 5.40pm flight from Gatwick to Marrakech.

He told a 999 call handler: “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.”

It sparked panic as cabin crew and pilots had to get off the plane, while passengers were held at the gate in the terminal.

Meanwhile Islam, a designer, turned up late to check-in, and an investigation found the number which had dialled 999 was his.

Passengers faced having to go back through airport security, and were held up for more than three hours.

The 32-year-old was arrested at the North Terminal on suspicion of making a bomb hoax and was taken into custody.

At Lewes Crown Court, Islam was jailed for 16 months, and was told he is banned from Gatwick Airport.

Detective Constable Stephen Trott said the incident happened on May 4 last year.

In police interview, Islam, of Ivy Road, London, fully admitted the offence.

He claimed he intended to travel to Marrakech to meet with his fiancée.

But he had problems on public transport which caused him to be late for his flight.

In a desperate attempt to delay it, he called 999 to say he had information there was a bomb on the plane.

DC Trott said: “While the defendant expressed remorse, there is no excuse for his actions that day and he has been sentenced accordingly.


“Making a false report of a bomb on a plane not only causes significant costs and delays to the airport and its passengers; it also strikes fear into the community.

“We treat all reports of this nature extremely seriously.

“Anyone caught committing such an offence will be dealt with robustly.

“We work closely with Gatwick Airport and its airlines to ensure people are kept as safe as possible.

“So we will not tolerate anyone who compromises this.”

DC Trott said that following Islam’s arrest, all luggage was re-screened and the passengers were re-checked through security.

The flight eventually departed at 8.54pm – more than three hours later than scheduled.