Police have arrested a man accused of breaking into a British Airways aircraft parked at Heathrow Airport on Saturday. The man who police have named as Louis Pedro Verdasca dos Santos Costa dodged security checks around the airport and accessed the BA maintenance facility at Hatton Cross.
The 38-year-old Portuguese national is then alleged to have climbed aboard a parked and empty BA Boeing 747. An employee caught sight of the intruder and raised the alarm. The alert must have alerted dos Santos Costa as he is then said to have run through the passenger cabin and into the unmanned flight cockpit.
A police spokesperson said officers received a call at 11:30 and proceeded to the BA compound. Police and airport security personnel were unable to get into the cockpit as the intruder had locked the doors. The doors are bullet and bomb proof and designed to withstand terrorist attacks. Eventually the fire brigade was called in and used specialist equipment to break the door open.
The police spokesperson confirmed later on Saturday that a man of Portuguese descent, but living at an address in Hounslow, had been arrested and charged with trespassing. The representative added that the arrested man faced two charges and would be appearing before magistrates this week.
The two charges are trespassing in a prohibited airside zone and breaking into an aircraft. The incident triggered a major security alert at Heathrow and a representative stated that officials would be meeting with police this week to discuss and review procedures following the breach.