'Welcome to Luton' sign in England: Prank scares arrivals into London Gatwick Airport

A YouTube prankster has admitted he is behind a mischievous sign which has appeared in a field in the UK.

'Welcome to Luton' has been written out in large letters on the arrival path for planes into London Gatwick Airport.

Abbey Desmond was flying into the UK airport from Mexico when she spotted the sign.

"Flying in to Gatwick, just before landing this is what is out the left window… great prank, deffo at Gatwick," she tweeted. It has been liked more than 27,000 times.

She told ITV: "We were about to land and in a state of panic until staff confirmed on landing we were actually at Gatwick."

Journalist Jeremy Cliffe also tweeted about the sign.

"Nothing makes for a stress-free arrival in the UK quite like the words Welcome to Luton currently spelled out in giant white letters in a field under the final approach to Gatwick Airport."

The man behind the prank, Max Fosh, responded to Desmond's tweet with a single word: "Guilty."

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He went on to tell BBC Three Counties Radio that the stunt cost him £4000 ($A7085) but that it was worth every penny.

"It's my job to make videos and my videos are all about doing silly things, to put a smile on people's faces but just to be silly, I'm glad this stunt has gone down well," said Fosh.

He said he found the owners of the field after doing some door-knocking: "A lovely couple said, 'yeah we've got an 80-metre-long patch of land we don't have any use for', so I said 'great can I get my tarpaulin out and start hammering pegs into the ground?'"

The sign looks set to stay for the next six weeks at least.

This isn't the first time that pranksters have tried to catch weary travellers unaware. Similar stunts have appeared in the US and Australia.

Last year, a 'Welcome to Perth' sign was spotted on a building next to Sydney Airport.

The man behind it, Brad Heasman, said he took inspiration from Mark Gubbins who has welcomed passengers flying into Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee with a sign that reads 'Welcome to Cleveland' atop his house since 1978.

Stuff.co.nz

See also: Airport's $40k welcome sign fail for first arrivals

See also: 'Kurt Cobain' mural by Aussie artist goes viral around the globe, again

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