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Brit charged after 'flying from Heathrow to New York without passport or ticket by tailgating another passenger'
11 February 2024, 14:55 | Updated: 11 February 2024, 15:05
A British man has been charged after allegedly flying from Heathrow to New York without a passport or ticket by tailgating another passenger.
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Craig Sturt, 46, is accused of following another passenger through Heathrow Airport security and passport checks before getting free food and drinks on a British Airways flight to New York.
He was understood to have been detained by armed officials at JFK airport, who discovered he had no documentation, and then sent back to the UK on a charter flight.
Sturt was taken to the Met police at 8pm on Christmas Day, where he was arrested and charged with fraud and offences under the Aviation Security Act.
He was remanded to appear at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court - but is now the subject of an 'urgent missing person appeal' after allegedly escaping hospital.
Thames Valley Police issued a photo of him on January 30, saying: "Urgent missing person appeal. Please can you help us find Craig? The 46-year-old is 6ft, slim, with short dark brown hair.
"When he was last seen, he was wearing a grey jacket, a top, black jogging bottoms and white trainers.
"Craig was last seen in Reading, but is from Slough and also has links to Heathrow and the Tottenham Court Road in London. If you see Craig, please do not approach him, instead call 999."
The incident has left the Home Secretary demanding answers over the "humiliating fiasco", according to The Sun.
A source said the incident was a "major embarrassment", adding that US officials are "furious".
"Heads will roll. It's staggering this could happen. It doesn't bear thinking about what might have happened if a terrorist had successfully boarded a flight undetected," they said.
"This is a major embarrassment. Officials in the US are furious and demanding to know how this could have happened."
A Heathrow spokeswoman said: "All people who go airside are subject to security screening, including the individual involved in this case.
"We are supporting the authorities with their ongoing investigation."
The Met said: "On December 24, 2023, police were made aware of an alleged breach of security at Heathrow airport and a male was subsequently arrested and later charged with Fraud and Aviation Security Act offences.
"We continue to work with all our partners to review and enhance the already robust security measures in place which are kept under constant review by the wider security partnership."
British Airways said: "We are assisting the authorities with their investigation."