14 December 2005
LOCH NESS MONSTER COST US £25,000
EasyJet 'bomb' turned out to be soft toy
By Alistair Munro
ARMED police stormed a plane after a passenger claimed a cuddly Loch Ness Monster toy was a bomb.
A court heard yesterday that hoaxer Peter Aldred's actions cost airline easyJet £25,000 - because the plane was delayed for two-and-a-half hours at Inverness.
The 41-year-old sales and marketing manager, of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, admitted breach of the peace and is awaiting sentence.
He was carrying a kilt shop's carrier bag when he boarded the flight from Inverness to Luton on Monday.
Fiona Murray, prosecuting, told Inverness Sheriff Court: "He placed the bag inside his jacket. A stewardess said it had to be placed in a locker and asked what was in the bag.
"He replied, 'A bomb'."
The bag was taken by the stewardess and placed in the overhead locker. But Aldred's remark was reported to the captain and armed police were called.
The bag was found to contain two Loch Ness Monster soft toys and some sweets.
Aldred told the court: "It was a very stupid situation which was blown out of proportion. I am very sorry Sheriff Alasdair MacFadyen called for reports. He bailed Aldred, ordering him not to board any aircraft before sentencing next month.
Last night, Aldred said: "I had just been on holiday for the weekend.
"If they thought it was a bomb, then why was it put in the overhead locker?
"The stewardess was having a laugh about it. It is absolute madness. I've spent 24 hours in the cells.
"I got the bag back but the monsters have vanished
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