A passenger who made a bomb hoax on board a plane has been jailed for three years.

Alan Patey, 49, admitted making threats on a Sri Lankan Airlines plane, which had to be diverted to Stansted Airport on September 20 last year.

The jet was due to fly from Sri Lanka to Heathrow, with other passengers completing their journey by coach after being forced to land at Stansted.

Essex Police officers boarded the plane once it landed and arrested Patey, of no fixed address, along with another 57-year-old man who was later released without charge.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Werrett, senior investigating officer from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This was a traumatic incident for the pilot, the crew and passengers on flight UL 503 from Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom.

“They not only had to be escorted from the plane for their own safety, but were naturally delayed in reaching their final destination.

“The courage of the pilot and his crew should be highlighted in the calm professional way they dealt with the situation believing there was a device on board.

“The sentence reflects the actions of Mr Patey and should act as a deterrent to others considering similar actions."