University of Southampton student Andreas Pierides admits taking explosive flares on plane

Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by

A SOUTHAMPTON student is facing possible jail after admitting taking eight explosive flares on to a plane at a major UK airport and possessing a terrorist manual.

Andreas Pierides, 22, was stopped on the gangway at Stansted Airport as he was about to board a flight to Cyprus on May 15.

Police were alerted to Pierides after a member of the public spotted him on a train reading an electronic publication with instructions on how to make a car bomb on January 19.

As they arrested him, officers seized a box of distress signal mini-flares which they found inside luggage which had already been stowed on the plane, a court heard.

But they handed them back in error after Pierides was charged for having a terrorist manual.

Five days later, police went to his bail address in north London to ask for the flares back and arrest him again, this time under the Aviation Security Act 1982.

At a hearing at the Old Bailey, the University of Southampton business student pleaded guilty to a charge under the 2000 Terrorism Act of possessing an electronic version of the Anarchist Cookbook.

Pierides, of Lullington Garth, Finchley, also admitted having a dangerous article in an airport.

Prosecutor Alex Chalk said the flares were packed in a compact box and would only have exploded if there had been an external fire.

He said it was accepted that the defendant had been ''stupid and naive'' and did not associate with terrorists.

But while it was not illegal to have flares in his native country, ignorance of British law was ''immaterial'' to the case, he said.

A fan of Cypriot team AC Omonia, the defendant had the flares for use at football matches, the court heard.

His lawyer Jeremy Ornstein said: ''There is a very widespread use of different types of flares at football grounds as part of the underlying political nature of football-supporting culture there.''

He accepted that the offence ''crossed the custody threshold'' but asked the judge to consider a suspended sentence, saying his client was of previous good character and had acted out of naivete.

He said: ''The flares themselves were handed back to the defendant. It is a sign of his naivete, his innocent attitude, he still had them five days later when the police asked for them back.''

He added that the particular type of flares, which glow for five seconds after being fired into the air, only posed a ''theoretical risk''.

The judge Mr Justice Sweeney ordered a pre-sentence report and adjourned sentencing to October 27.

Comments (5)

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4:13pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Paramjit Bahia says...

While not at all justifying the naïveté of the student, it is difficult to understand the stupidity of those responsible for checking that any items to be loaded on plane are not dangerous, and the plonkers within the police who handed the potentially explosive flares back to the person involved.

If the chap was really a terrorist then surely he would not have handed the offending stuff back to sleepy cops when they realised their own inefficiency few days later. And found him to be fully cooperating and easy sitting duck for securing a conviction.

Now for his actions the student is going to have a serious criminal record which is likely to make him unsuitable for many jobs, BUT what about others including cops who also failed to do what they are paid for?

YES being a foreign national can't be excuse for disobeying the British law, surely that should also apply to those responsible for lapse in security at Stanstead and the police officers involved, whose actions are classified as a simple mistake.
While not at all justifying the naïveté of the student, it is difficult to understand the stupidity of those responsible for checking that any items to be loaded on plane are not dangerous, and the plonkers within the police who handed the potentially explosive flares back to the person involved. If the chap was really a terrorist then surely he would not have handed the offending stuff back to sleepy cops when they realised their own inefficiency few days later. And found him to be fully cooperating and easy sitting duck for securing a conviction. Now for his actions the student is going to have a serious criminal record which is likely to make him unsuitable for many jobs, BUT what about others including cops who also failed to do what they are paid for? YES being a foreign national can't be excuse for disobeying the British law, surely that should also apply to those responsible for lapse in security at Stanstead and the police officers involved, whose actions are classified as a simple mistake. Paramjit Bahia
  • Score: 10

4:28pm Fri 22 Aug 14

cjgutteridge says...

We should probably only be trying to convict terrorists as terrorists. He didn't attempt to terrorise anybody, nor appeared to be planning to. You can buy the sodding book on amazon or read it online in the internet archive.

Any custodial conviction here would be an utter waste of taxpayer money. Sigh.
We should probably only be trying to convict terrorists as terrorists. He didn't attempt to terrorise anybody, nor appeared to be planning to. You can buy the sodding book on amazon or read it online in the internet archive. Any custodial conviction here would be an utter waste of taxpayer money. Sigh. cjgutteridge
  • Score: 12

5:11pm Fri 22 Aug 14

forest hump says...

cjgutteridge wrote:
We should probably only be trying to convict terrorists as terrorists. He didn't attempt to terrorise anybody, nor appeared to be planning to. You can buy the sodding book on amazon or read it online in the internet archive.

Any custodial conviction here would be an utter waste of taxpayer money. Sigh.
Nonsense! Anyone attempting this sort of escapade should have the book thrown at them. Irrespective of excuses, any sane, normal human being would not involve themselves with this kind of stupidity. He should have a criminal record and if he does not legally have British citizenship, he should be booted back where he came from. This country is far too soft. All this human rights nonsense should be kicked into touch in cases like this. Sheer stupidity and naivety is no excuse and to say it is widespread in football culture does not mitigate. Throw the book and boot him out.
[quote][p][bold]cjgutteridge[/bold] wrote: We should probably only be trying to convict terrorists as terrorists. He didn't attempt to terrorise anybody, nor appeared to be planning to. You can buy the sodding book on amazon or read it online in the internet archive. Any custodial conviction here would be an utter waste of taxpayer money. Sigh.[/p][/quote]Nonsense! Anyone attempting this sort of escapade should have the book thrown at them. Irrespective of excuses, any sane, normal human being would not involve themselves with this kind of stupidity. He should have a criminal record and if he does not legally have British citizenship, he should be booted back where he came from. This country is far too soft. All this human rights nonsense should be kicked into touch in cases like this. Sheer stupidity and naivety is no excuse and to say it is widespread in football culture does not mitigate. Throw the book and boot him out. forest hump
  • Score: -5

5:55pm Fri 22 Aug 14

SPIKEISLANDTRADER says...

Let him have the FLARES back ! What so he could try again . Bloody fascicle ,.
Let him have the FLARES back ! What so he could try again . Bloody fascicle ,. SPIKEISLANDTRADER
  • Score: -5

6:35pm Fri 22 Aug 14

george h says...

What a lot of old dog's b***ocks!

The book is freely available in libraries. And so is the Los Alamos Primer - How to build an atom bomb, published originally by the Los Alamos National Laboratory - America's government bomb factory. I have a copy myself. Knowledge doesn't make a person a terrorist. A word that's becoming overused and overhyped. We should keep it for the real terrorists.

Except that Plod are not the sharpest tools in the box. They recruit from a very small gene pool.
What a lot of old dog's b***ocks! The book is freely available in libraries. And so is the Los Alamos Primer - How to build an atom bomb, published originally by the Los Alamos National Laboratory - America's government bomb factory. I have a copy myself. Knowledge doesn't make a person a terrorist. A word that's becoming overused and overhyped. We should keep it for the real terrorists. Except that Plod are not the sharpest tools in the box. They recruit from a very small gene pool. george h
  • Score: 12

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