A COUPLE who upset passengers on a packed summer holiday flight have avoided going to jail "by the slimmest of margins".

Cabin crew feared Philip Mycock and his partner Gemma Heap had been drinking to excess before boarding the Thomas Cook service to Tunisia.

But Minshull Street Crown Court heard as the pair were behaving themselves, they were allowed to assume their seats near the back of the plane.

Before long though, Mycock and Heap had offended fellow travellers with their "loutish and sweary" conduct, the court was told.

Judge Mark Savill was told Mycock pinched a hat from Abid Anoor, who was seated next to him.

And as the flight was taking off he tried to stand up to to go to the toilet, the court was told.

Mycock, of Connaught Avenue, and Heap, of Rydal Avenue, both Whitefield, pleaded guilty to being drunk on a aircraft.

Further charges faced by each, of outraging public decency by having sex on the plane, which they had both denied, were discontinued by the prosecution.

Mycock was given a six-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours community service and 30 rehab activity days. He must also undergo a six-month alcohol treatment order.

Heap was sentenced to a four-month suspended sentence and 20 rehab activity days.

Ian Harris, for Mycock, said it was accepted the defendant had alcohol issues. But he had apologised for his behaviour before leavign the plane.

Rachael Parkhouse, for Heap, said her client, a financial administrator, had given birth five months before the flight in question and this was the first time she had drank since then.

Clear distinctions could be drawn between the mother-of-four's behaviour and her partner's, Miss Parkhouse added.

Passing sentence, Judge Savill told them: You have avoided custody by the slimmest of margins."