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easyJet passenger convicted after biting police office at Gatwick

A man who bit a police officer after being arrested for shouting racial abuse on a plane has been convicted in court.

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Officers responded to reports of a disruptive passenger on the easyJet flight inbound from Faro to Gatwick Airport on 18 May.

Having been asked to sit down and put his seatbelt on as the aircraft prepared to land, the defendant became aggressive towards cabin crew. He also used a number of expletives, of which some were racially aggravated.

Police attended the aircraft as it came to a standstill and the defendant was identified as Kieran Croxley, 44, a labourer, of Howell Walk, Southwark, London.

The officers asked him to follow them, at which point he again became abusive and started swearing. As they attempted to arrest him, Croxley bit one officer’s hand and dug his nails into the arm of another, causing the skin to break. And while being transported into custody, he attempted to bite a third officer.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress; behaving in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards aircraft crew; and three counts of assault on an emergency worker.

At Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 26 September, Croxley pleaded guilty to all five offences.

He was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay a £900 fine, £450 costs and a total of £325 in compensation to the officers he assaulted.

Croxley was arrested as part of Project Disrupt – an annual campaign run by Sussex Police to combat drunken and disruptive behaviour.

You can find out more about the operation here.

Inspector James Biggs, of the Gatwick Prevention Team, said:

“This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable. No member of aircraft crew, nor their passengers, should have to experience such abuse. Nor should any emergency worker expect to be assaulted for simply carrying out their duties.

“This case should serve as a reminder to passengers of their responsibilities before they board an aircraft. Incidents of drunken and disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated, and anyone who compromises this will be dealt with robustly.”

Education

Two hundred local pupils attend Eco summit at Crawley school

The Gatwick sponsored ‘Eco, Young, and Engaged’ (EYE) conference saw eight local schools and 200 pupils from Crawley and Horsham attend Ifield Community College on Monday to get a practical understanding of the environment and the importance of sustainability.

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Aged between six and seventeen, pupils chose between 13 workshops where they could learn about making their own compost and the wildlife within it, and about the effect that different clothing materials have on the environment and therefore which ones are more sustainable to buy and wear.

Other workshops included practical team challenges on how to upcycle (reuse) everyday items – such as using old milk bottles as planters for herbs – and how to harness the power of both wind turbines and solar panels to generate electricity.

The conference is part of the wider EYE campaign which seeks to bring schools in West Sussex together to focus on the importance of caring for our planet – to promote sustainability and encourage young people’s interest in environmental issues.

Gatwick’s Head of Sustainability, Rachel Thompson, gave an introductory talk on what sustainability is and its importance for protecting the environment.  She also discussed Gatwick’s ‘Decade of Change’ report, which tracks the airport’s progress on ten sustainability targets set over a ten year period (2010 to 2020), and explained how Gatwick’s buildings and fleet are carbon neutral.

The sponsorship of the conference is part of Gatwick’s wider community engagement programme which aims to make lasting and positive impacts to local communities and young people. Gatwick is also partnering with 15 local schools as part of the Primary Engineer programme to help schools teach STEM-based subjects in a more relatable and practical way to inspire more students to study the subjects.

Rachel Thompson, Head of Sustainability, Gatwick Airport said:

“It was great to see the enthusiasm of the students and hear their excellent questions and ideas. We hope today’s event will inspire more eco school projects and also encourage more students to consider studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and pursuing careers in sustainability.”

Irram Ali, Ifield Community College Eco Lead, said:

“It was an honour to have been able to host the first Eco-Summit in Crawley. At Ifield Community College we are focused on encouraging our students to proactively engage with environmental issues and this was an excellent opportunity for such engagement to take place. All students were passionate and enthused and will hopefully implement some of their new knowledge in our local schools and community.”

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