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Soldier in fireworks 'raid' on war jets is spared jail

Let's see if anyone else can post this story 12 hrs later then.......

A soldier who celebrated his safe return from Kuwait by launching fireworks at RAF jets while they were being refuelled, escaped a jail sentence yesterday.

Pte Graham Hartis, 19, and his friend, Bradley Dewar, 20, fired the rockets over the perimeter fence at RAF Leuchars in Fife as two Tornado F3 jets were taking on fuel.

Ground crew initially feared they were under a terrorist attack when the fireworks exploded near them, but security staff found the men, who had been drinking, in a nearby street.

Cupar sheriff court was told the incident could have had tragic consequences, but Hartis was freed after being fined £1,500. Dewar was remanded in custody and will be sentenced later.

Sheriff George Evans said he chose not to send Hartis to prison because he wanted him to continue his career following a traumatic tour of duty in the Middle East.

The court heard that Hartis bought the fireworks to celebrate his return home last July and that he had not intended to fire them into the nearby airfield.

The incident occurred at about 4.40am as ground crew were re-fuelling aircraft on exercise from another base.

Hilary Eldridge, for Hartis, said his client had been at the forefront of hostilities at the age of 18 and had been under a great deal of pressure.

"My client never intended to target the RAF and had no intention for the fireworks to go over the perimeter fence. He accepts that what he did was extremely foolish and foolhardy and he had not thought through the consequences.

"Since the matter he has shown in every way, a deep understanding of the effects of his behaviour."

She said his Army career would be over if he was sent to prison, and she read a glowing report from his commanding officer.

Sheriff Evans told him: "In the light of information given to us by the Army, I'm prepared to give you a chance to continue with your Army career which you have shown some distinct ability for."

At an earlier hearing the men, both from Guard Bridge, near the RAF base, admitted firing rockets in the direction of aircraft and fuel tankers.

After the case, Flt Lt Keith Wardlaw said their actions could have caused a "very serious incident indeed".

"Thankfully, the fireworks fell just short of the aircraft and tankers. I can't recall anything like this ever happening before. It was an extremely silly thing to do, to say the least," he said.
If the Authorities had looked at it a little closer, I'm sure they would have discovered that these "Tornadoes" were in fact plastic. There is no way that the RAF could have TWO operational Aircraft? :lol:

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