back to article UK planespotters to battle al-Qaeda

Police have formulated a cunning plan to protect Durham Tees Valley Airport from al-Qaeda kamikaze attack - crack teams of vigilante planespotting anoraks, the Telegraph reports. Local cops have convened a meeting with "aircraft enthusiasts" aimed at recruiting them as the "eyes and ears" of the War on Terror™. Durham police's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anoraks might work

    My kid brother, years ago, used a Military Surplus Rocket Launcher Tube (107mm-ish diameter) to hold his fishing tackle, when drowning worms at Yeadon Tarn, West Yorkshire. On the way home he foolishly wandered through Leeds-Bradford airport grounds, with the green plastic tube across his shoulders.

    I censor what happened next, but there were lots of them and it hurt! eventually the Airport resumed take-offs and landings and my bro' doesn't fish with used ordnance anymore

  2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Eternal vigilance, etc, etc....

    Even if our coppers were getting a suitable budget to be able to completely secure our airports and approaches, they would still want public help. Most Police info comes from the public after all.

    Mind you, I do remember as a student seeing Neighbourhood Watch signs in Kingston-upon-Thames modified to read "We'll beat students together"! I expect most "anoraks" in this scheme will be looking for brown-skinned, bearded, dishdash wearers, and that will not stop sophisticated terrorists. But it may stop the odd amateur jihadi such as the two women in Dallas seen doing their Akbahr Mitty reccie of Love Field airport: (

  3. Matt


    "chilling attack" I dunno when beavis and butthead-eque terrorist wannabees set themselves on fire whilst trying to set petrol on fire I just find it funny.

    I mean really, even the Anarchists cookbook can give you pointers on making a bomb that works.

    I'm still more scared of going down a dark underpass then some freak blowing me up, but even if I do get blown up - O well, shit happens. If a friend or family member gets blown up - again shit happens, they could get cancer, die in a car crash or any number of other things. People die all the time these security fags need to go the hell away and let people live their lives again.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your joking right?

    In my experience all the plane spotters care about is the registration. So the only time they would notice anything unusual would be if the numbers were peeling off or the reg was obscured (Say by a fire or large oil leak).

    I was doing a tour of a hangar at my local airport the other week, one of these guys didn't realise that a 1/2 scale FW190 replica wasn't the real thing. I did sarcastically tell him that this was a special plane only used by the Nazi midget flight division and he wrote that down as well :)

  5. Andy


    Yes. My joking.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Out of Context

    This meeting has been taken out of all proportion by the media!

    I'm attending the meeting, so I'll share how it came about...

    For a while now, the security guards have been chasing plane spotters away from Durham Tees Valley. Since we've been doing this for years, it is obviously a bit annoying.

    So one spotter arranged with the local police whereby we can register who we are, what car we drive, where we live etc.

    That's all there is to it. I was under the impression I have to now become a freedom fighter against terrorism. I just want permission to pursue my hobby.

    If I see someone with a rocket launcher, of course I'll notify someone.

  7. MikeWW

    Re: Joking

    "In my experience all the plane spotters care about is the registration"

    Probably so but that means they will realise that it should belong to a Boeing 747 rather than a blazing Jeep Cherokee.

    Putting coat on now .....

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  9. DV Henkel-Wallace

    Not sure they really want this

    Wasn't it UK planespotters who uncovered the CIA "extraordinary rendition" program by tracking the unmarked planes?

  10. Steve


    "So one spotter arranged with the local police whereby we can register who we are, what car we drive, where we live etc."

    Oh great, so now all the lunatic Jihadis have to do is nick *your* car, which they can drive right up to the airport boundary without fear of being challenged because your plate is marked as 'clean' by the police/airport authorities.

    I feel safer already.

    Or hell, they could just feign an interest in plane spotting and have themselves added to the list. Though somehow I suspect Durham plod will be enaging in some off the books racial profiling, so only light skinned nutters need apply.

    While I personally detest the draconian restrictions being forced on the UK populace in the name of our freedom, I can't help but point out that there's no point whatsoever having a system of protection (e.g stop people hanging around airport boundaries) and then riddling it with holes.

    Not that it would make much difference either way, I mean I don't know what the range of a modern shoulder launched SAM is, but I imagine it's a deal further than the airport CCTV can see, especially if it can't see through, e.g, bushes, making all efforts to prevent it's use pretty futile. But still, I am mildly offended by the stupidity of this kind of logic.

  11. Andy Bright

    Actually it's a brilliant idea

    And I'll tell you why.

    Because this finally puts all this bullshit fear mongering into perspective.

    Look without having the kind of police state society the Americans now enjoy, without having "concerned citizens" tattle tailing on their neighbours, spying on them and reporting them to the secret police, sorry Homeland Security, the US can't get any worse in terms of handing victory to the terrorists. They've basically said we're willing to give up everything their country stands for in order to catch the odd clown setting fire to a car.

    Handing the terrorist watch over to anoraks is exactly what this country needs. We don't need pixie dust biometric passports, magic terrorist catching ID cards or a DNA database that will forever haunt the population of this country. We don't need our email captured, our IM monitored or our telephone calls recorded. We don't need anything other than the security that was already in place prior to 9/11 and doing a perfectly good job. Please count the number of successful IRA plane jackings..

    Does that mean there will be the occasional successful terrorist plot, as in the Underground incident last year? Yes - but if we want a decent society, one that's free of overbearing government watching our every move, the occasional tragedy is the price we have to pay.

    Giving plane spotters the job of the US Dept. Homeland Security is a bang on idea - and actually they'd probably be better at it (consider Katrina for example - my guess is that a bunch of anoraks would have handled that one better than some simpleton equestrian judge).

    The only shame is this is not really the case and it's more about letting plane spotters onto airport grounds than catching bad guys.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no substitute for proper policing?

    Some one has got that the wrong way around...

    Proper policing and tight and tough security from professionals are no substitute for neighbourhood sticky beaks and general intolerance.

    For those of you who haven't studied psychology and criminology, just ask your self: who would you rather have find you when you're pissed: the cops, or your gran?

  13. Shane Lusby

    Modern Mantra

    Everyone repeat this one loud and often

    "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    @Andy Bright

    Spot on there, chum. I like your way of thinking.

    I hope this security craze will pass, especially since I don't see any ACTUAL security in any of the proposals made since 9/11.

    Seriously, if we want to be sure our airports are secure, all we need to do is ask El Al. That airline is Israel-based, and I don't remember hearing about a hijacked El Al plane since about a quarter of a century.

    Yet Israel is right in enemy territory, and there is no shortage of towel-heads in the area.

    They must be doing something right, and I bet it doesn't have much to do with parking distance.

    Why don't we send a study group over to El Al and check what they're doing ? Why are we content with screening baby bottles and refusing kiddie scissors ?

    If we're supposed to be scared of terrorism, then I want REAL security, not just impolite security personnel prone to giving your back end a finger check.

  15. Gaz

    @Shane Lusby

    Urgh stop misquoting Benjamin Franklin. The actual quote (if it can attributed to him at all) is "Those who would give up ESSENTIAL LIBERTY to purchase a little TEMPORARY SAFETY, deserve neither LIBERTY or SAFETY". Subtle turn of words but makes a considerable difference to the meaning.

    Really this is just another irritating example of media hype over terrorism. Keep your head on straight without burying it in the sand and you'll be just fine. And if not, you probably won't around to worry about it anyway...

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