August 2, 2008

Airport Staff Still Confiscating ‘Bomb’ Material As Passengers Ignore Rules

HUNDREDS of litres of baked beans, peanut butter, brown sauce, curries, mango chutney, suncream and insect repellent are still being confiscated every day from airport passengers, almost two years after security restrictions on hand luggage were brought in.

As thousands of holidaymakers flock abroad, airports are pleading for passengers to keep to the limits for liquids set following an alleged plot to blow-up transatlantic passenger jets in August 2006.

Airport staff said they still have to collect the excess liquids, including aerosols, despite the introduction of awareness campaigns, permanent signs near security and passengers being asked if they have obeyed the rules for hand luggage.

A spokeswoman for Cardiff International Airport was unable to provide exact figures, but she said liquids were still being surrendered at the airport.

Since August 2006 security officers at London Luton Airport have disposed of around "three container-sized skips" of "surrendered items" every month, a spokeswoman said.

Staff at Newcastle International Airport said they are confiscating around 400 litres of liquids - that they estimate are worth around pounds 1,000 - every day.

Items in hand luggage include jars of Marmite and marmalade, Moet champagne, around 40 cans of baked beans a week and two snow globes in the last month.

Spokeswoman Wendy Dawley said: "As the airport enters its busiest summer period, security teams estimate it is now taking up to 10 man- hours a day to recycle and dispose of confiscated liquids found in passengers' hand luggage in the security search area.

"The most commonly confiscated items are bottles of pop, water, suntan lotion, perfume, shampoo and toothpaste. But items with a much higher monetary value are also being found in hand luggage, including wine and spirits, and even a bottle of vintage champagne worth pounds 175.

"Twenty-three months after tightened security restrictions came into effect at all UK airports following the terror alert on August 10, 2006, thousands of passengers remain unaware of the current regulations regarding hand baggage.

"Regulations prohibit the carrying of liquids in quantities greater than 100ml through security search areas at all UK airports."

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