Drunk holidaymakers face up to two years in jail

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Holidaymakers are being warned to know their limits as they could be sent on a two year holiday if they get too drunk at an airport - to prison.

Police have launched a crackdown at Gatwick Airport to cut down the number of people boarding flights drunk in the summer.

Anyone convicted of being drunk on board a plane faces up to two years in prison.

And since March last year, the limits on the fines that could be imposed were removed, meaning troublemakers could face hefty costs.

Drunkards may also have to pay the costs racked up by an airline by a delayed or cancelled flight.

Sergeant Darren Taylor, of the Gatwick Airport Policing Team, said: “We deal with disruptive passengers all year round, but we recognise the problem tends to peak in the summer months - often when there are a lot of stag and hen parties - and that’s why we run a specific operation at this time of year.

“Working with the airlines, we’re able to target a number of long and short-haul routes where we feel there may be issues.

“We’ll also be increasing patrols around the airside and around licensed premises to ensure people are aware of the rules and their responsibilities.

“The whole concept is about early engagement, to prevent disorder from occurring and to allow the majority of well-behaved passengers to enjoy their flight.

“The bottom line is if people are drunk and disorderly, they will be refused carriage. It’s as simple as that.”

Last year, a total of 208 flights were covered as part of the same operation.

Of these, 118 disruptions were reported, while officers also responded to further reports of problematic passengers on other routes.

A total of 80 passengers were blocked from boarding planes due to their behaviour, and a further 81 were told off.

A further 26 passengers were arrested for offences including being drunk and disorderly, threats to kill, assault, public order, interfering with cabin crew and being drunk on board an aircraft.

Sgt Taylor added: “We’ll be keeping an eye on people from the point they check in to the point they board an aircraft. It’s about getting in there early so people are aware of the rules, and if they continue to break them, they will be dealt with robustly.

“Gatwick is an extremely family orientated airport and we pride ourselves on being very passenger friendly.

“It’s a great place to travel to and from, but there are a minority of people who will ruin the experience for others.

“If you want to have a few drinks, wait until you actually get on holiday.

“Don’t ruin it for yourself or others due to acting in an antisocial manner at the airport.”

Operation Disrupt runs from June 1 to September 30.

Thomas Williamson, photographer. Image by Paul Craig Photography

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