Drunken Ryanair passenger jailed after smuggling alcohol onboard Alicante to Newcastle flight

When airplane staff confiscated his alcohol Meredith Gibbons sneaked into the galley to retrieve it and took it into the toilet to consume. Credit: PA/ NCJ Media

A drunken plane passenger who was disruptive during a three-hour flight to Newcastle has been jailed.

Meredith Gibbons, from Gateshead, had smuggled his own alcohol aboard the Ryanair flight from Alicante. When it was confiscated, he sneaked into the galley to retrieve it and took it into the toilet to consume.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he repeatedly refused to comply with safety requests and the crew were so concerned they contacted air traffic control, who got in touch with the police.

Gibbons' disorderly behaviour continued at Newcastle International Airport, where a member of ground staff had to help a police officer subdue him.

It was around 9:30pm on 19 November that Northumbria Police got the call to go to the airport.

Meredith Gibbons has 26 previous convictions, including for dishonesty and battery. Credit: NCJ Media

Nick Lane, prosecuting, told the court Gibbons was handcuffed on the plane and continued to be verbally abusive as he walked down the steps.

Referring to Gibbons' behaviour on the plane, Mr Lane said: "During the flight he had been consuming his own alcohol.

"It had been confiscated from him and he had gone and taken the alcohol and continued to consume it, despite being asked not to.

"He hid himself in the toilet and consumed the alcohol. He is described as being very disruptive throughout the flight.

"There's a clear risk by drunkeness to the aircraft and the safety and security of passengers and also to the aircraft itself."

Gibbons, 35, of Osborne Terrace, Gateshead, who has 26 previous convictions, including for dishonesty and battery, pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft and was jailed for eight weeks.

The court was told Gibbons has shared custody of his three children and he had coped badly with the loss of a fourth child to sudden infant death syndrome in 2019 and started drinking heavily.

His barrister said his "nuisance" behaviour was "embarrassing" and "shameful" and that it was "not how a grown man should behave on a flight"

The court heard he has stopped drinking and has been having therapy and he provided a reference from a retired professor indicating a different side to his character.

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