A British passenger without a passport or plane ticket managed to fly from Heathrow to New York following another traveler in a “huge embarrassment” for UK security, it emerged last night.
Craig Sturt, 46, is accused of following another passenger through security and passport checks at Heathrow Terminal 5 and enjoying free food and drinks on a British Airways plane before landing in the United States. .
He is said to have been detained there by armed officers, who discovered he had no documentation and sent him back to the UK on a charter flight.
Mr. Sturt was then hand-delivered to Metropolitan Police officers at 8 p.m. on Christmas Day, when he was arrested before being taken to a hospital in Reading.
However, he allegedly escaped from the hospital and has not been seen since, having been the subject of a missing persons appeal.
Craig Sturt, 46 (pictured) was the subject of an ‘urgent missing person call’ when he followed another passenger through security and passport checks on December 23, 2023.
The incident is said to have left the Home Secretary demanding answers over the “humiliating fiasco”. Sun reported.
Such an event was thought to have been impossible due to increased security and technological advances since 9/11.
After escaping from hospital, a warrant was issued for Sturt’s arrest on January 22, and Thames Valley Police released a photograph of him on January 30.
The police said at the time: “Urgent missing person appeal.” Can you help us find Craig? The 46-year-old man is 6 feet tall, slim and has short dark brown hair.
“The last time he was seen he was wearing a gray jacket, a T-shirt, black tracksuit bottoms and white trainers.
‘Craig was last seen in Reading but is from Slough and also has connections to Heathrow and Tottenham Court Road in London. If you see Craig, do not approach him; call 999 instead.
He has been accused of obtaining services by deception; being illegally in the area of operations; boarding a plane without permission.
He was sent to appear before Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court; However, the police have not yet found the unemployed 46-year-old.
He has been seen taking £200 in cash from a machine on Tottenham Court Road in London.
Sturt boarded a British Airways plane bound for New York from Heathrow Terminal 5. In the photo: a BA plane takes off from Heathrow Terminal 5 (file image)
A source told The Sun: ‘Heads will roll. It’s amazing that this can happen. It’s not worth thinking about what might have happened if a terrorist had successfully boarded a flight undetected.
‘This is a great shame. “US officials are furious and demanding to know how this could have happened.”
A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “Everyone going to the airside is subject to security checks, including the individual involved in this case.” “We are supporting authorities with their ongoing investigation.”
The Metropolitan Police said: “On 24 December 2023, police became aware of an alleged security breach at Heathrow Airport and a man was subsequently arrested and later charged with Aviation Fraud and Security Act offences. “.
“We continue to work with all our partners to review and improve the already robust security measures in place which remain under constant review by the wider security partnership.”
British Airways said: “We are assisting the authorities with their investigation.”
MailOnline has contacted BA and the Metropolitan Police for comment.
The Home Office and Department of Transport declined to comment.