August 2, 2008

Security Swoop on Baked Beans ; 40 Tins Are Confiscated Each Week

By Dan Warburton

SECURITY officers at Newcastle International Airport are confiscating 40 cans of beans a week from customer hand luggage.

New rules on liquids being taken on to planes were brought in two years ago after a plot to blow up a transatlantic airline was unearthed.

But bosses at the airport yesterday said passengers were repeatedly ignoring the laws despite warnings inside the terminal.

And they revealed an astonishing array of goods confiscated from people trying to get around the regulations. Among the items taken from passengers over the last year were 40 cans of baked beans every week, jars of marmalade and Marmite and two snow-globes.

Some of the more well-heeled clientele were counting the cost of ignoring the rules after having bottles of Moet Champagne removed from their hand luggage.

An airport spokesman appealed to passengers to remember the regulations after revealing the most expensive item confiscated was a pounds 175 bottle of vintage bubbly.

She said the number of confiscated goods had not decreased from last year, despite holidaymakers having another 12 months to come to terms with the rules.

The airport is also having to confiscate aerosols and soft drinks among the more unusual items.

Wendy Dawley, spokeswoman for the airport, 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 at Newcastle Airport 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 using Newcastle International Airport remain unaware of the current regulations regarding hand baggage.

"The regulations prohibit the carrying of liquids in quantities greater than 100ml through security search areas at all UK airports." Mrs Dawley said the amount seized by staff is on a par with last year's confiscations.

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