POLICE bosses say the sentences handed out to 15 protestors who prevented a deportation flight from leaving Stansted Airport are a "clear reminder" those breaking the law must face the consequences.

The so-called Stansted 15 all avoided immediate jail time having been convicted of an aviation security offence during a ten-week trial last year.

Three of the protestors were handed nine-month suspended jail sentences during a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday, while the other 12 were given community orders.

All 15 defendants, who denied the charges brought against them, will appeal their convictions.

Speaking after sentencing, Stansted Airport’s commander, Superintendent Nick Morris, described the protestors actions as dangerous and unacceptable.

The group had cut through a security fence before chaining themselves to the plane which was deporting illegal immigrants on March 28, 2017.

Officers were forced to cut the protestors free before arresting them. The incident led to a closure of a runway and caused widespread delays at Stansted Airport.

Mr Morris said: “Stansted Airport is one of the country’s busiest airports, managing many thousands of plane and passenger movements every day.

“When members of the protest group forced their way into a restricted area, their motives were unclear and dangerous.

“They then chained themselves together to obstruct a plane – a plane that was due to leave the UK imminently – and this put them and others in real danger.

“These actions went on to cause a significant amount of disruption to the airport and passengers and this is totally unacceptable.

“Let this case be a clear reminder, entering a restricted site no matter what the motive carries risk and with that risk you must pay the consequences.”

Essex Police says additional security measures have now been put in place at Stansted to bolster the airport perimeter.