PASSENGERS were left feeling panicked after spotting a “Welcome to Luton” sign as they flew into Gatwick Airport.

The huge white lettering was in a field near the Sussex airport, which is more than 60 miles south of Luton.

Abbey Desmond, who was flying into Gatwick from Cancun in Mexico on Saturday, shared a photo of the sign on Twitter.

It has been shared more than 22,000 times.

Abbey, who is a paramedic in London, said: “Flying into Gatwick, just before landing, this is what is out the left window... great prank, deffo at Gatwick.”

Journalist Jeremy Cliffe was also taken aback by the sign.

He wrote: “Nothing makes for a stress-free arrival in the UK quite like the words 'Welcome to Luton' currently spelled out in giant white letters in a field under the final approach to Gatwick Airport.”

YouTube prankster Max Fosh has claimed responsibility for the stunt, replying to Abbey’s tweet saying “guilty”.

Max, who has more than 924,000 followers on the video platform, told BBC Three Counties Radio: "It's my job to make videos and my videos are all about doing silly things, to put a smile on people's faces but just to be silly, I'm glad this stunt has gone down well."

The 27-year-old added: "I went door knocking on fields next to Heathrow and Gatwick and a lovely couple said, 'yeah we've got an 80 metre long patch of land we don't have any use for', so I said 'great can I get my tarpaulin out and start hammering pegs into the ground?'."

Max told the BBC the 14 letters, which were each eight metres by three metres, cost him £4,000.

He said: “If you're flying into Gatwick have a look out your left window you should see it about 90 seconds before landing."

Max apologised to anyone who was “seriously thrown” by his prank.

In 2015, a similar stunt went viral after an American man who lived near Milwaukee Airport wrote “Welcome to Cleveland” on the roof of his home.

Gatwick Airport has been approached for comment.