back to article Heathrow T5 security tackles Transformers t-shirt threat

An IT consultant who attempted to board a British Airways flight to Dusseldorf at Heathrow's T5 wearing a Transformers t-shirt was told to take off the offending apparel or else, The Sun reports. Brad Jayakody, 30, was travelling with four colleagues and ill-advisedly decided to sport an image of Optimus Prime wielding a …


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  1. Steven
    Thumb Down

    PC Gone Mad

    How utterly f'in stupid. Who on Earth would be offended by one of the greatest 80's cartoons ever made! What's the bet they waved through the guy behind him with the real rocket launcher...

  2. Tom


    This doesn't make anyone safer, but makes everyone's lives worse.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    You not comming in here with trainers

    I find people wearing Hackett shirts offensive can I ask for them to be removed before boarding the plane???

  4. Rob McDougall


    I guess they'll be arresting kids who crash toy planes into the ground next....

  5. DM

    It's official...

    The terrorists (decepticons) have won!

    /Mine's the plain coat with no distinguishing features, images or logos.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Don't these people know their transformers?

    As pointed out, that's Optimus Prime - leader of the Heroic Autobots.

    Now, if it had been Megatron, they may have had cause for alarm.

    Alternatively, they got confused about what sort of Transformers they were and thought that it was one of the exploding data-centre powering ones.

    - Black helicopter because it's the only vehicle you have

  7. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Some people seriously need their heads seen to

    How can you be arrested for wearing a commercially freely available T-shirt? What's the offense?

    Imagine the trial:

    >> "Can you describe to the court what happened then"

    >> "He came at me wiff a tee-shirt, guv"

    >> "Did you percieve this as a threat?"

    >> Yes, guv, them Transformers always scared me shitless when I was a kid"

    What a bunch of complete idiots. What next, no souvenir T-shirts of HMS Victory allowed (and that at leats is a picture of a REAL weapon)?

    Mine's the one with the picture of a Spitfire on the back.

  8. Kyle
    Thumb Down

    It's good to see they've got their priorities right when it comes to security

    Your bags may not arrive on the right continent or even at all, but they've halted the growing menace of 2-dimensional fictional robots committing acts of terrorism by, er, being depicted on t-shirts.

    If this is the kind of guidance provided to their security staff overall, then it's little wonder they made such a spectacular balls of the opening of the new terminal...

  9. Gordon Pryra

    With all this "security" at the air ports

    How the hell can we feel safe when its obvious that the people actually controlling it are complete and utter idiots?

    If(when) we give them guns, I really hope someone shows them which is the "shooty-end" and which is the "holdy-bit-under-the-arm"

  10. Simon
    Thumb Up

    Famous for a day

    The guy has an account on and was talking about this incidence in a thread (Nooo, we *never* read any other websites apart from El Reg).

    Here is a link to his blog:

    Yup, hes making the news on the intarwebs right now.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I see common sense has gone completely out of the window these days.

    I mean come on, how the f*** can having a cartoon image of a transformer holding a gun on your t-shirt be reason enough for to be told you would be arrested and unable to get on the plane.


    Anyone who agrees that this article is ok and those people were in the right, is part of the same shallow end of the gene pool that the airport security are from, probably still dragging your knuckles along the floor, waiting to evolve into a higher primate. Here's a Banana knock your self out.

    This is yet another example of over zealous idiots imposing ridiculous and quite frankly irrational ban's on items of clothing, like a former retarded prime minster Mr Blair did with hooded jumpers aka the dreaded "Hoodie".

    "Last year Gatwick guards made a woman hand over a beef sandwich before boarding and last week a PhD student was stopped for wearing a gun-shaped charm necklace at an airport in Canada."

    So how dangerous is a beef sandwich? Or a necklace?

    -Paris, because she has as much intelligence as the security guards at T-5

  12. James


    I think the military should be armed with t-shirts. If a "terrorist" can use one to hijack a plane, then I don't see why the army can't use them to take out "bad" guys.

  13. u235

    Idiocy backed into a Corner

    It's like this. Some security guy makes an idiot of themselves by making a really stupid decision or saying something outrageous. They won't back down as they'll lose face. The supervisor is called over and as the security guy is their friend and colleague they're unlikely to say the initial action were the actions of a loopy loop. They then defend the action using further dubious excuses and so the chain of idiocy continues right up to the top if necessary.

  14. Anthony Mark
    Thumb Down

    Words... me...

  15. Danny Thompson

    A case of .....

    .... having lost the plot entirely. This nation's forefathers must be spinning in their graves at the antics and pettiness that is prevalent these days. The operative and their supervisor should immediately be given specialised "Training" in "Not being so bloody stupid" with the follow up course "Stop wasting everyone's time". Following that they should both be issued with a Bog Brush and confined to managing T5's lavatories for the forseeable future.

    People like this should not be let out in public. What a pair of utter buffoons.

  16. Joe K

    Yeah right...

    ...and i'm sure the fact that he looks a bit "ethnic" had *nothing* to do with it.

    This country is going to pot, it really is.

  17. Andy Turner

    Serves him right

    He's 30 years old and wearing a Transformers tshirt FFS?

    GROW UP!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    next time I board a flight...

    ...I'll be wearing a t-shirt with a smoking shoe on it, or perhaps a cartoon box cutter.

    This has got to the point of stupidity now. Basically, you pay through the nose to board a flight and are then treated as a potential criminal and subjected to being treated like cattle.

    "Please leave your human rights at the door when you board this flight"

    Paris Hilton because she's more offensive than a cartoon gun.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Anonymous Coward


    T shirts don't kill people....people with t-shirts kill people

  21. Nomen Publicus

    Common sense running out faster than oil

    What if the rude word is in a language that the jobs-worth doesn't understand? Surely to cover that possibility any t-shirt with any text, icons or glyphs should also be banned?

    Stupid rules for implementation by stupid people.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    so many new and stupid rules

    There should be a new route of appeal in court in this day and age since we have so many new ill-thought out rules and laws.

    You should be able to appeal a rule on the basis that it is stupid.

    I am travelling though T5 later today after this i better re-pack removing all those t-shirts that have any cartoons on them (as most geeky cartoons have weapons).


  23. Mei Lewis

    Cool t-shirt

    Stupid rule.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    British Incompetence Ltd (TM)

    You couldn't make this stuff up. After the wonderful advert and stupendous press coverage for British Incompetence Ltd that T5 produced you'd think BAA would at least try to inject some kind of common sense into their staff.

    But no.

    A t-shirt. I still can't believe it. A bloody t-shirt!

    I've got an Iron Maiden t-shirt somewhere with "Shoot That Fokker!" on the back (a Fokker is a plane btw for those who don't know). Guess I won't be wearing that anywhere near Heathrow then.

    Name and shame the halfwit security people so we know who to look out for and to avoid. Stupidity is dangerous!

  25. Doug Glass

    Image is everything; substance is nothing

    Sure makes things simpler and easier now. Governments can be overthrown, people can be killed and wars can be fought with pictures of weapons. Wow, why didn't I think of that. Of course the admirals and generals will be more toys to actually hurt people with.

  26. bothwell

    If you're wearing a Transformers t-shirt at the age of 30

    Then you deserve to be arrested.

  27. Andrew


    What's next? Thundercats T-shirts banned because Lion-O has a massive chopper?

    Mine's the one with the furry hood...

  28. Stephen Cole

    Lucky it wasn't megatron...

    This guy is pretty lucky it wasn't megatron with his ball & chain weapon on his T-shirt instead as he would have been charged as a extreme porn abuser & placed on a sex offenders list by now!

  29. Neil

    Customs officer won award for most stupid annoying reason to stop someone

    They have "in house" competitions to see who can upset passengers the most. Surely the UK airport security has gone daft in lowering themselves to this ridiculous level? What about t-shirts with pictures of teddy bears – thats surely going to indicate some kind of terrorist rebel, or how about a t-shirt with the word BOMB on it? Very dangerous.

    I was stopped in Teeside recently because the bottle of camera lens cleaning solution (<100ml of course) was in the wrong size ziplock bag. Obviously a terrorist threat if ever...

    Sheer madness.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    First your belt, then your shoes, now your t-shirt... I for one welcome our new naked travelling overlords ;) What would matey have done if he had no other shirt to change into, FFS?

    The terrorists have already won.

    Dead vulture as it perfectly represents the common sense (or lack thereof) currently in operation in the security world.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I would have banned him as well - just for being a big enough arse to wear a transformers t-shirt when he is obviously over the age of 8.

  32. Dr. Mouse


    I dispair. What is wrong with these people...

    Oh hang on. They are trained monkeys given a little power which has gone to their heads.

  33. radian


    Just when you think things can't possibly get any more ridiculous...

  34. Anonymous Coward

    These guyz are more and more creative!

    I do not know who believes that any of these items is dangerous:

    - a pair of nail scissors more than a big, sharp piece of plastic ripped of an aricraft chair

    - <rofl actually="really big rofl!"> a mobile phone switched on</rofl>

    - water/sun cream/day cream in a 101ml bottle

    However, anybody can board a plane with 10 kg of sulfuric acid (dehydrated), mix that in the toilets with water and throw it through the cabin once airborne ... just as an example, I mean, they should stop us from taking anything on a plane (shoe laces, belts etc) ... if they were really serious about security, the aircraft interior should look like the cells of mental institutions ...

    BTW, it has NEVER been proven that any mobile device (or hard drive device) had interfered with ANY piece of navigational equipment, at least on the US American side! I hold this info from several "senior" aviatation engineers that have carried-out a number of tests on prototype commercial aircraft. [that is why I post anonymous - they hate to upset airlines, who do not want you to start talking to your loved-ones during landing or taxi over a phone ;-)]

    Is it not easier to stab somebody with a ballpoint pen than nail scissors, which are usually too short for that?

    I hate airports, they are never honest ... always try to talk around the issue ... when a flight is late they say it's late because of the late arrival of the aircraft (in other words, it's late because it's late)

    I always think: thank you guyz so much for the info, but can you say why it is late in the first place?!?

    These guyz are plain idiots, but don't get me wrong, it's not the poor souls we see in uniform at the security check, nor their managers, it's the brainless decision-makers. Especially in the US, they are the problem, they even enforce that on other nations ... 3 hours boarding time is ridiculous - it used to be 30 minutes ... ;-)

    Damn, I cannot wear my stereolab t-shirt, from the "peng!" album ... :(

  35. Ross

    Like Natalie Imbruglia

    I'm torn.

    Heathrow is private land and they are within their rights to have a "dress code" if you will. However, the idea that a t-shirt with Optimus Prime on is dangerous, offensive, likely to induce panic/fear etc is ridiculous.

    I can understand them causing grief for the fame whores that wear bulky jackets with wires coming out of them, and I can understand them not wishing people to wear clothing that is generally accepted to be offensive (e.g. with profanity), as you can expect children to be present. Pictures of robots, guns, bombs etc though don't seem to fall into either of those categories. At least to me.

    Time for a bet with my mates methinks. Must get me a t-shirt printed up before my hols - "suicide is painless" on the front, "as long as you mix the chapatti flour and hydrogen peroxide in the correct ratio" on the back... I won't be flying from LHR mind.

  36. Alan Donaly

    Poor taste finally made a crime.

    They couldn't make it any clearer that they don't have a clue as to what it is they are doing. I am glad I don't have to fly.

  37. Dean


    What more can I say?

  38. Adam Foxton

    Because of this guy...

    ... T-shirts of trucks aren't allowed in case they're depicting things that may be weapons-weilding Transformers.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Security? REALLY!

    Nice to see T5 security "cottoned" onto this security threat.

    I'm concerned about their attitude to the gun in my pants!

    Paris cause she'd be the first to fire off the gun.

  40. The Cube
    Black Helicopters

    What a Wunch of Bankers

    Seriously, I understand that the gits in Government need some security theatre to pretend that they are doing something about the 'terrorist threat' that they created in the UK when we (re)invaded the middle east but exactly where did they hire these muppets? Was there nobody at the Job Centre that day? Primary school children would make more effective security decisions than this lot.

    Whilst we are on the subject though, how is it that those expensive new 'smart' body scanners T5 is fitted with, that were supposed to stop all the bullcrap with taking your shoes and everything else off are still being used like the old scanners? There are only three real possibilities;

    1) The morons in charge of security are too stupid to tie their own shoelaces and have not trained their staff to use the new kit (of course this begs the question of how they get to work, maybe the employer issue them with slip-ons)

    2) The morons in Whitehall want to keep everyone scared of those nasty terrorists (not the people we are victimising or killing, just the completely unconnected terrorists) by subjecting us to laughable security theatre at every available opportunity. Don't forget the War on Terra (TM) got that retard Bush re-elected, no reason for Nu-Labour not to give it a try over here.

    3) The smart folks in Whitehall know that we are running out of oil (and invading half of the middle east has backfired and put prices up not down) and that making air travel as unpleasant as possible to reduce the number of flights we take won't get them voted out as fast as the same level of aviation environmental tax.

  41. George Johnson
    Thumb Up

    I suppose...'s the "table-leg shooting" all over again. I suppose in a certain light, at the right time of year, when the moon it full and the right number of people present, you could mistake the picture of a gun on a shirt for a real one, but come on?! Just another case of your welcome the 51st state!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Parallel universe

    Well, my initial reaction was to check to see if I'd somehow been transported to a parallel universe where it's April 1st every day.

    Ok, I can quite see why they'd want to arrest him on grounds of sartorial bad taste and anyone over 10 years old wearing that kind of thing looks definitely suss anyway.

    But I have to wonder just what kind of retards BA employ in their management team that finds an image printed on a piece of clothing to be a threat.

    "If a T-shirt had a rude word or a bomb on it for example, a passenger may be asked to remove it"

    WHY? What rationale can possibly be used to justify this type of bullshit?

    Can't we just heard all of the risk averse obsessives onto a walled island somewhere so that the rest of us can get on with life without being constantly subjected to this crap, (put all of the politicians there too while you're at it).

  43. sean macdonald

    Over zealous security

    Don't they know that "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings"

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    CCTV Image Processing

    I suspect that there might be some form of image processing going on at T5 linked to the CCTV systems, systems that might be trained to recognise the outline of a gun for example. Such systems based on 2D images would, I expect, have difficulty differentiating between a real gun and a picture of one on a T-Shirt.

    To avoid false positives, they might give staff a list of banned pictures not allowed to be displayed, without necessarily conveying exactly why they are banned.

    This could be the result of such a policy where staff use their discretion to decide what is a gun and what isn't, resulting in the situation we see today.

  45. John Arnold


    He should have transformed it into a teapot or something less terror related...

    Already got it and off out the door....

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The dress code

    " 1. Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible

    2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it.

    3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape of the body is not apparent.

    4. The female clothing must not resemble the man's clothing.

    5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non-believing women.

    6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.

    7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or incre"

    Wait, that's the *Muslim* dress code, silly me, I got confused there, thought we lived in a country with a lot more freedom...

  47. Lloyd

    It could be worse

    He could have been wearing a Manga t shirt and been arrested for kiddie porn.

  48. gabor
    Paris Hilton


    There's probably a user's manual for the airport workers and this manual includes something along the lines of "weapons or items that might look like weapons" so they, in one sense, we right.

    But by COMMON sense (lawyers, politicians, civil servants are trying damn hard to kill this one, entirely), this is something to fire both the first worker and his boss for.

    Of course, not in Britain. Nobody here gets fired for utter incompetence.

    Paris, because... well, because... she wouldn't ever wear such T-shirt perhaps?

  49. Richard

    One has to wonder

    Whether this principle will be extended to other items on the prohibited items list:

    Thermometers (but only if they're mercury based)

    More than how ever many ml of liquid it is these days.

    Fake Passports

    Common Sense

    Mine's the one with SECURITY? on the back. Clearly, the ? is offensive.

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