TWO drunken pals ran around unnoticed for 25 minutes at a manned military air base.
Serious security questions have been raised by the antics of Lee Dixon, 26, from Batley, and Steven Ellam, 31, from Ravensthorpe.
The pair managed to access a military helicopter and hot-wire a refuelling truck carrying 40,000 litres of aviation fuel before military personal even realised they were there.
And when soldiers finally tried to arrest them, Dixon crashed the truck, spilling £3,000-worth of fuel - narrowly avoiding a potentially lethal mass-explosion.
The RAF Dishforth base, near Ripon, North Yorkshire, is used by the Army Air Corps and as a relief landing ground.
It is home to millions of pounds worth of military equipment and is supposed to be security tight.
The incident was at about 7am on Thursday June 10, after the pair got lost and ran out of fuel on their way home from a lads' night out in Leeds city centre.
Caroline Midgley, prosecuting at Harrogate magistrates' court, said the pair climbed over a 5ft wooden fence on to the base after abandoning their car near the air field.
She said alarm bells were raised by a farmer, whose land backs on to the base.
Dixon was charged with aggravated vehicle taking, while Ellam faced a charge of allowing himself to be carried on a stolen vehicle.
The prosecution offered no evidence against Ellam and dropped the charge.
Dixon, who admitted the charge, was given a 12-month conditional discharge and banned from driving for 12 months.
He was also ordered to pay £250 compensation to the Cleveland Gliding Club for the petrol, which belonged to them, and which had been contaminated because of the crash.
Speaking after the hearing, Dixon said: "The Government talks about increased security but there wasn't any here. We were able to wander around and do what we wanted."
An Army spokesman said:
"The barracks itself has always been wired off but we have now installed a razor wire fencing around the helicopter dispersal area."