back to article Gatwick Airport security swoops on 3-inch rifle

A Canadian tourist has admitted Gatwick Airport security operatives "successfully protected the free world from the threat of terrorism" after relieving him of a deadly three-inch plastic rifle. Ken Lloyd was about to jet home packing a nine-inch tall replica of an armed British soldier in his hand luggage. The innocent £135 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    its gone mad

    seriously though, if you can manage to hijack a plane with a small three inch piece of plastic from a model, then to be honest youd deserve the plane.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Nah that'd never work

      From looking at the photo, the entire trigger assembly was missing as well as the pistol grip.

  2. Andy Farley

    The appearance of a firearm

    that is FAR AWAY.

  3. Elmer Phud

    no title needed


  4. Christoph

    Cunning plan defeated

    It's obvious what he was planning - as soon as the plane was in flight he was going to sneak into the toilet and use the tap there to add water and reconstitute his dehydrated terrorist.

    Security has saved us from the deadly threat of Instant Terrorist - Just Add Water!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You sir, win one internet

      Best comment I've read this year, and probably for quite some time before that. That was spit-coke-through-my-nose funny.

  5. Ian Yates

    Just what we need...

    ...people acting completely without thought to give the Sun and Daily Mail a reason to feel smug about "political correctness gone mad".

  6. Fuh Quit

    How can we trust our airport security with stories like this?

    There seems to be absolutely no intelligence behind those conducting security checks. Or their managers.

    I guess, in the worst case, an innocent Barbie or Ken might've been capped during the flight. Let's hope they would not be dressed in flight attendant or pilot outfits.....

  7. wim

    British soldier = terrorist now ?

    good to know.

  8. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    3-inch gun

    I've been misled!

    For a moment I thought the guy was trying to hide a 12-pounder artillery piece in his luggage.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      A little light in the loafers?

      I really don't know if any of you blokes have seen this movie ... "Full Metal Jacket"?

      There's one scene where the platoon is in training running around singing ... "This is my rifle, this is my gun... This is for shooting, this is for fun..."

      Well you get the drift.

      I guess you Brits, at least those who work in airport security are trying to compensate for their inadequacies... (A 3" gun)

      Mines the coat closest to the door as I head out to a pub.

      PS. yeah I know, I'm mixing my metaphors when I said 'light in the loafers' but hey, its a joke people!

  9. There's a bee in my bot net


    That was a pretty realistic and well made model. I'm glad he wasn't a real terrorist, wielding that on a plane. Can you imagine the horror you would feel having that pointed in your direction...

    I'm laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, but inside I'm quietly weeping for the loss of common sense.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. James Hughes 1


      You do know what an inch is, don't you?

    2. peter 45

      "It it looks like a gun......"

      It didn't look like a gun. It looked like a cast, minature scale model of a gun

      Next you will be accusing him of human smuggling because the statue of the soldier looked like a human.


  11. Graham Bartlett


    "Items with the appearance of firearms"

    Except for the scale, or course. What, you think someone's going to hold up a plane with a 3" long plastic toy?

    In other news, officers have warned people not to come through customs with Lego spaceship models "because they have the appearance of ICBMs". And best not to mention the fate of the kid who tried taking an Airfix Challenger tank kit through.

    1. Pablo


      Perhaps if the pilot had only one eye, and you held it really close to their face, they would think it was full sized.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe someone could start a list of these jobsworths.

    It might make them engage common sense in future.

    If they've even heard of it.

    1. hplasm

      Compare the Jobsworths

      Dot Com!!

  13. Stef 4

    Nothing new

    This has been going on for years. I remember a good 10 years ago a boy had his Action Man gun taken from his Eagle Eyes Action Man before he could board the plane.

    I agree it all sounds stupid, but where do you draw the line? Some guns are tiny, and taking a quick look at the home made guns, and weapons made in prisons, they can be very very small. As soon as a size limit is introduced, someone will just make one 1mm smaller. I'm surprised they still allow pens on board planes, with the plans for home made zip-guns so easily available on the interwebs.

    Or is it a threat issue? Are the airlines afraid that someone will try to pretend that the 1 inch plastic gun is real and hijack the plane?

    Can't they just X-Ray it, then put it on the plane like they do with dutyfree at many airports these days? Then just pick it up when you leave?

    1. Lamont Cranston

      Draw the line?

      How about this:

      If it's a real weapon, you cannot bring it on the plane.

      If it could be (mis)used as a weapon, you cannot bring it on the plane.

      If it could be mistaken for a real weapon (and hence utilised to make threats) you cannot bring it on the plane.

      If it is obvioulsy not a real weapon, and could not be used as one, then you can bring it on.

      Granted, this leaves some room for interpretation, but I'd like to imagine that those doing the security checks would have had some training (ha ha).

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        "If it could be (mis)used as a weapon, you cannot bring it on the plane."

        That's worrying, because almost anything can be used as a weapon. People can be killed or very seriously injured with most parts of the body, for instance.

        I doubt that I am the only one who has gone through the stuff I am allowed to take on board a plane and thought "If I wanted to, I could ..."

        What do you mean, I am? I hear the helicopters ... goodbyyyyyyeee

        1. Handle this!

          Remember Bourne?

          "That's worrying, because almost anything can be used as a weapon."

          Bourne used a rolled up magazine in one movie to smack an opponent...

          Planes could get very dull indeed without reading material been allowed on flights

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            can very much vouch for that technique too, from both sides of the magazine. Bloody painful!

      2. JaimieV

        That'd make a dent in profits

        All those 1Kg+ foot long glass clubs that you can pick up in the duty free shops, easily convertible to jagged edged weapons or a molotov cocktail on demand - would be forbidden.

  14. Code Monkey

    Jobsworth Morons

    It's easy to point, roll your eyes and call them jobsworth morons, and you'd be right of course.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Ashamed to be British...

    I cannot believe that I live in and am a citizen of a country that would do this.

    <hangs head in national shame>

    1. g e


      As I posted alongside the link when I shared it with some UK and international pals on Failbook:

      "In case anyone wanted to know why the UK is such a moronic, pointless and drivel-slathered nation these days then I think this goes a long way to summing up why our new national sport is 'Complete Apathy to Everything'"

      The main reason keeps everyone so poor is so they can't afford to fkn emigrate.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

      You are not a citizen, you are a British Subject.

    3. John F***ing Stepp


      Since I know that our side (the good ol' USA) has done stupider things*, there is no reason for shame.

      *Perhaps we are in some contest for national stupidity that will come out later.

      In which case England et al has quite topped us.

      For now; we will bounce back.

  16. Dave 15

    Unthinking total stupidity the British way

    This is the way of the British these days.

    a) We allow our government to tell us that a piece of paper issued to law abiding citizens will protect us from those naughty people that want to blow themselves and us up.

    b) We believe our government when they tell us that allowing bankers to pay themselves 5 million a year is good for us

    c) We lap up their insistance that closing entire industries and buying foreign is an improvement on having more than 70% of the workforce working.

    d) We know - because our government told us - that privatising essential services makes them cheaper - it certainly doesn't line the pockets of rich - often foreign investors - with massive profits because I'm not allowed to buy the water I need from anywhere else!

    e) The truth that locking people up without trial protects us is self evident isn't it - the government tells us this.

    the list goes on and on and on and on, unfortunatly the thick idiots who occupy the UK are all lined up waiting to grease their..... for the .... thats sure to come which ever party they re-elect for yet another farcical term 'in power'. Democracy anyone?

  17. Just Thinking

    No joke

    The problem is that the security staff are doing a very important job, and this seems to indicate that they don't fully understand what that job is.

    With this "rules is rules" mentality, what chance is there that they might spot something which is actually suspicious but isn't against any specific rule. The next bomb probably won't be in somebody's shoes or pants.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "With this "rules is rules" mentality,,,

      ,,,what chance is there that they might spot something which is actually suspicious but isn't against any specific rule."

      Well at that point a spokes"person" for airport security repeatedly states, "Everything possible was done in accordance with the rules to stop this incident happening." He then smiles, wipes the dust of blame from his shoulder and walks away.

  18. Miek

    Dopey Idiots

    "A firearm is a firearm", so all the kids out there playing with toy guns are now armed and dangerous!?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile ...

    Meanwhile they let the next passenger on carrying a fuelled-up petrol-powered chainsaw ... because someone forgot to add chainsaws to the list of banned items.

    1. kiwi8mail

      Actually the chainsaw story was from New Zealand

      Actually the chainsaw being allowed on a plane story was from New Zealand:

      On one hand, as a kiwi I should perhaps be embarrassed by it happening. On the other hand, it's sort of good to know that because NZ is relatively free of the fear of terrorism, the passenger was allowed to board...

  20. Nigel Brown

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear

    I feel a head / brick wall interface moment coming on....

  21. Robert G Ward

    Same happened to my son 2 years ago at Stanstead

    While waiting for checking with Ryanair to open, I bought my 4 year old son the fireman sam magazine. attached to the front was a very cheap plastic water pistol.

    while he passed through security, the officers informed us that we could not take a replica firearm into the flight - even though it was still attached to the fireman sam magazine!

    obviously, you can image I now had a screaming 4 year old on my hands for the entire flight and he was completely confused as to why it happened.

    he still mentions it every time we go through security, so it obviously had an effect on him,

    1. Matt Ryan
      Thumb Down

      Thank Labour for the VCRA

      This crap prohibits replica firearms which might be a reasonable course of action apart from the fact that the burden of proof is whether a person would be convinced it was real. If some old dear sees your kid with a water pistol and thinks it real then there is trouble. Even better its a strict liability law so you have to prove that your kid had a legitimate right to have it.

      Based on this just having it confiscated was better than being charged with illegal possesion of a firearm.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Prisoner transport is ...

        still prisoner transport.

      2. Lamont Cranston

        "you have to prove that your kid had a legitimate right to have it"

        Really? Being a child isn't a legitmate reason to be in possession of a toy?

        I'm glad I never travel anywhere, it hardly seems worth the hassle.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Robert G Ward - Re:Cheap Plastic Water Pistol

      That's nothing new. In 1989, I was prevented from taking a purple plastic water pistol through customs when leaving Barbados. The security officer explained that, even though it was clearly not a real gun, it could potentially be used to squirt acid, etc. I was 7 years old at them time and rather annoyed that I couldn't keep my favourite water pistol - since it was clearly empty. My parents said they'd buy me a new one when I got home. Crisis averted.

      Of course, I still mention it over 20 years later, so it obviously had an effect on me.

  22. Gaz 2


    makes me want to cry in despair. Morons like this should be lucky to have a job let alone one where they have ANY power of anyone else...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Never heard such a load of old tosh in my entire life.

    Matt Lucas and David Walliams have got it right with 'Come Fly with me' - a more searing indictment of the jumped up jobworths you find at airports you are not likely to find.

    Anyway, on which planet is a 3 inch toy a 'replica' firearm? Surely a replica would have to be the same size as the original to be classed as a replica? Otherwise its a model. These morons really have had every ounce of common sense extracted.

    1. Astarte

      Dangerous Things

      I agree with you about 'Come Fly With Me' - a wonderful satire. Mind you plastic bullets can be effective (e.g. the ones used by riot police). But I'd feel really intimidated if someone threatened me with said statuette, I mean, really, he might throw it at me and make me spill my drink.

      Remember that even pictures of weapons are banned - even fictional weapons. See (nice one Lester)

      Perhaps the baddies could smuggle a pencil and a piece of paper on board and then, at the appropriate juncture, 'draw' their gun and make their demands...

  24. Archie The Albatross


    Just when you thought airport security couldn't be any more ridiculous than it already is!

    Where do they find these idiots and why do they give them jobs?

    One can only assume they struggle with such polysyllabic words as "reasonable" and "proportionate".

    FYI guys, a firearm is a weapon capable of discharging a projectile that is propelled by gases produced by a rapidly burning, or instantaneously decomposing chemical compound.

    Hence "fire", the "arm" bit is a contraction of "Armament".

    Three inch long inert pieces of plastic are rarely, if ever, any of these things.

    So now you know.........

  25. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    The SA80 actually works now?

    That's news to me.

    1. The First Dave

      SA80 of all things

      To be fair, this was probably more dangerous than the full-size, MOD-issue piece of plastic crap...

    2. Archie The Albatross

      SA80, Nimrod class British technology!

      Just remove the magazine, take a firm grasp of the barrel and swing hard.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Just so you know...

        About 10 years ago the MOD bothered to pay H&K to fix the problems with the SA80. Specifically the fact that the stock falls to pieces when you sneeze on it, and the fact that it jams far too easily. They fixed this, and reports back from Saif Sareea (Exercise in Oman in 2001/2) was that it worked very well.

        The x4 SUSAT sight is still a major improvement over anything foreign forces have. Also the fact that the trigger is forward of the chamber make it an excellent weapon for urban operations.

        1. Archie The Albatross

          Rant alert

          These would be urban operations where you don't need to fire from cover at a right-handed corner.

          Did no-one notice that you can only use this thing off the right (as in: not left) shoulder? I for one have been happy to put up with brass bouncing of my head! (Yes, it was an SLR, long, long ago).

          No argument about SUSAT, just put a decent rifle under it, say H&K G3 and life could be much happier, even though ammunition scale will be heavier.

          As I noted before, Nimrod class defence technology.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The race to the bottom

    It seems that when it comes to airport security at least, we are world class - our swaggering, ill-dressed muppets-with-radios do "stupid" to genuinely Olympian standards. When exactly DID we start taking ourselves so seriously?

    1. Chris Hawkins

      Re: The race to the bottom

      I concur!

      However, if they have already reached the point where they do "do "stupid" to genuinely Olympian standards.", what are they going to do for an encore for the real event in London 2012?

      The mind genuinely boggles! It really does.

      Can't help thinking though that there must be a better way to do and implement airport passenger screening!

      [/Thinks] Project for today: Create an Open Source based Passenger Screening system using Tuxology and Penguins on Rails. Find angel investors and Government R&D financing. Spend loads of money. IPO in two years time even though not making money yet. Exit with loads of dosh and penguins to start "next big thing! " [\End Thinks]

      [/Thinks] & [/End Thinks] used with grateful thanks to the late Lord Neddy Seagoon of Airwick Gatport.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I actually mean this seriously - Does anyone want to chance bringing a Dalek gun through a UK airport, whilst wearing a Doctor Who T-Shirt showing a picture of a Dalek firing its gun?

    I say seriously, because I'm genuinely not sure what the outcome would be.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I'm off.

    I am so ashamed of the rampant panic and cowardice brought on by a few nutty terrorists.

    We even fear toys now. I can't think of a better example of a terrorist victory if i tried.

    I'm off to hide in shame, call me back when the world grows some balls.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Toy planes

    I remember about 9 years ago flying out of Bristol airport on holiday when we'd let out the 5year-old son pack his own bag of toys to discover at security that he put in all the toy planes he had - this prompted a reaction of "thats a lot of planes" from the securty staff followed by a discussion on whether the large number of model fighter jets with pretty sharp pointed ends were allowed or constitured a potential weapon ... fortunately they decided that they were "safe"! Think it may have been the same time that their x-ray machine discovered where that a fork that we used to feed our other 1 year-old son and which we'd "lost" had got to when it revealed it right at the bottom of the changing bag - that, though, was confiscated as dangerous part metal cultery

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Business Class

      Funny you had the metal fork removed - they give you those in business class. Must be a better class of terrorist there - one that doesn't play with his cutlery.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "There are lots of reasons an item could be prevented from going through security."

    The first and foremost being blatant individual and collective stupidity, that prime feature of the goons that are there to protect us by, er, harassing us and taking out possessions.

    On the upside, these were actually quite lenient as goonery goes: TSA issue of same will have insisted on confiscating the item, something they apparently do more often the more the item looks like a spendy electronic gadget like an ipod or a laptop or something.

    They're best buddies with their like-minded pals, politicians, so they'll be delivering their finest harassment to us for a while yet. Don't you feel safer already?

  31. Another One

    We shoot them with our plastic guns.

    I fly through Schiphol a lot. Normally things are fine, the security there is friendly, tolerant of humour and alert. However...

    One sleepy morning going through the Schengan line one mother with her child are stopped at the X-Ray machine. The child has a plastic flint-lock pirate pistol. The security guy explains that even if it's a toy gun it could still be real and the proceeds to pull the trigger several times whilst pointing the offensive toy in random directions!

    What should one do in that situation? Hit the dirt? Laugh? Or just leave the area very quickly wondering and sadly shaking head?

    Another time - in San Antonio, TX - Going through the security. I get singled out for a "special" security check. Fine. I get put in some sort of glass walled cage and feel like I'm on show. I ask why this is being done. I get told I'm special and that if I don't like it - to go and complain to airline security rep at the check in desk. Very useful. Not.

    Anyways - I eventually get let out and my bag is gone through with various explosive sniffers and such like. I have a small bottle of hand cleaner (alcohol based) that raises his interest. I explain it - no problem. I comply with questions an such like - I've nothing to hide. Anyways - after 10 minutes of questioning and "sniffing" my bag - I'm allowed to go on with my journey and have a pleasant flight. Fine.

    I get home some hours later VIA a connecting flight in Houston and similar treatment. I find my 4" lock-back army knife hiding in plain sight in one of the side pockets. I mean - ok - it's green - but no-one commented or saw it. Makes me wonder.

    1. Hollerith 1

      similar experience flying from Canada

      I'd been camping and had put my beloved hunting knife in my backpack, and forgot to put it in my suitcase. Got hauled up for half a bottle of water, bought in the airport but not quite finished, and when I unpacked in London found the knife in the outside pocket of my backpack, easily accessible to me and to anyone standing behind me. I mean, the thing's practically a Bowie knife. But I'm glad they didn't find it, as it was a gift from my grandmother when I was 12. (Canadian girls are different, wot can I say...)

    2. Jonathan

      similar note

      a few years ago my (now) wife and i managed to fly from:

      london to chicago

      chicago to new york

      new york to denver

      denver to austin

      with a (forgotten) usb stick/swiss army knife sitting at the bottom of a pocket in hand luggage.

      it was only on passing through security at austim for the flight back to heathrow that it waas discovered.

      (and to be fair to the security bods they were quite happy to accept "misrtake" and allow us to post it home (minus the usb stick which went back in the luggage) in a padded jiffy bag)

  32. rahul

    What riles me the most...

    ... is the canned statement from the "spokeswoman for Gatwick airport", which totally sidesteps the idiocy of the action and puts the context in the same category as actual offenses.

    Too many do this ("canned statements") nowadays. Let's administration get away with anything. Dismiss everything, no need to explain or learn and improve.

    Looking in the coat to see if any common sense is left...

  33. Ben Bawden

    What the fuck?

    That is all.

  34. NoDosh


    Sorry, don't usually rely on LULZ and OMGs but W and indeed TF are these people thinking?

    Oh hang on, got it; they weren't thinking. Still, it's the supremely ironic to have toy security staff confiscating toy guns.

    Well as it's Friday, I'm off to buy myself some hi-viz and a PMR so I too can inflict randomness on total strangers.

  35. Craig (well, I was until The Reg changed it to Craig 16)

    A huge success for anti-terrorism

    +1 to the statistics of "detected and prevented terrorism".

    It's just a pity that we don't have our own Guantanamo Bay. May I recommend Basildon or is that really just going too far down the torture route?

  36. jake Silver badge

    Fear of the unknown.

    Scary, the unknown, isn't it?

    Now, if the British government hadn't turned common tools into objects to be feared, instead of actually teaching people how and when to deploy those tools (and when not to, of course!) this story wouldn't be a ... err .. story. See: Switzerland.

    Pathetic. Absolutely fucking pathetic. Poor bastards.

  37. ChrisF18

    Good luck with your PlayMobil re-enactment El Reg

    Do PlayMobil do micro-scaled guns?

    1. Code Monkey

      They used to

      Til people had trouble flying with them...

  38. rahul


    detail and scale accuracy. Anyone would get confused. NOT.

  39. neb

    so then...

    who's for trying to fly with a gun tattoo then?

    how the fuck does rihanna(daft r&B bint IIRC) get through customs eh?

    i'm off for a lie down before i pop a fucking vein!

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Daft? - Maybe.

      Fit as a butchers dog? - Definitely!

      Mine's the one with "Hate R&B, but wouldn't push Rihanna out of bed" in the pocket.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    good job


  41. Darpania

    Not just us British.

    Couple of years ago coming back out of Edmonton Alberta, the security guards took a Keyring in the shape of a pair of handcuffs off of me.

    Now in his favour the cuffs did work, did open, did click closed..... However on the other hand the cuffs were about 2 cm across and the lock holes had little release pins sticking out of them....

    I did point out that unless they had really really really small pilots and air hostesses it probably wouldnt be a problem, but I guess the risk of me temporarily (i.e. until they pushed the little pins) cuffing a pilots little fingers together was just to high a threat to the safety of the plane.

  42. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse
    Thumb Down


    You have to remember who these security guys are...

    Most are failed Police candidates, part timers, or little Hitler jobsworths with no imagination who take the job as it is the only way they can have any form of power or influence.

    Makes me ashamed to be English.

  43. P.Nutt

    They are all idiots

    My wife and I were taking the kids to Disney Land last year and to keep our kids happy we had made them up play packs to keep them occupied and to stop them bugging us on the flight. Now the youngest decided to fire into his on the car trip to the airport and had came across the lego and made what every boy would - a crappy looking gun to shoot passing cars with.

    During the pass through security this "firearm" was discovered and said he could not pass through with it. Now being the logical person, I simply broke up the lego gun back to its original pieces thinking the problem is solved.....nope my son now had a disassembled firearm according to the security. Where the hell do they find these guys!!!!!!

    Thank you BAA for the pleasure of trying to explain to a 4 year old why his lego was taken off him....bunch or arseholes.

  44. Anonymous John


    Forty years ago, I could fly to the US with a camera tripod in a plastic bag, without it being checked.

    The present is a foreign country, they do things differently here.

  45. petur

    RE: Well...

    *facepalm* seems I misread and thought the (fake) weapon itself was 9 inches... Ah well, next time look at the pictures too :)

  46. Nick G


    he should've packed it in with a load of Glocks - they'd have let it through then...

  47. Malcatrazz

    You are all wrong

    A toy gun?

    You can stab somebody with it.

    You can shove it down somebody's throat and they might choke.

    With a slingshot it will be an excellent projectile.

    These customs people are a lot smarter than you think.

    1. E 2

      Well yes but

      You could also roll up a copy of The Economist and use it to crush someone's larynx.

      Just about anything can be used as weapon, given some imagination.

  48. Joe 35

    The really sad thing here is ...

    ..whilst these moronic twats were investigating this, they were checking one less person, so maybe someone with an actual bomb or rifle could have been swanning past them.

    People like this should be fired as they are obviously too stupid to actually detect a real threat.

  49. Simon Harris


    The Gatwick security guy didn't think it was small, but just far away.

    1. Hollerith 1

      Give him a break...

      ... his wife keeps reasuring him that 3 inches is mighty powerful.

  50. Juan Inamillion

    @Compare the Jobsworths #

    You sir, owe me a new keyboard.

    Brilliant idea....

  51. Greem


    It was just a diversion. They do this so some dodgy bastard can nick small items like mobile phones from the trays... Thankyou, Heathrow security, for diverting my attention last year and letting some light-fingered member of staff (or a passer-by) walk off with my phone.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      I worry about this...

      ... so I always put keys, phone, wallet etc in my bag or one of the many pockets in the coats I travel in. Less chance of forgetting stuff, gets you away from the smell of sweaty feet quicker, and reduces the chance of thievery.

  52. KarlTh

    Which is more likely?

    Everyone on Gatwick Security has a single figure IQ

    Everyone on Gatwick Security knows damned well it's stupid, but are terrified that if they don't follow management's instructions to the letter they'll get fired

    I don't quite understand why everyone here is plumping for the former. It's all very well to decry people as "jobsworths", but if you really do risk losing your job if you don't enforce a stupid decision, who's going to throw their job away in this manner?

    1. Lamont Cranston
      Thumb Down

      Given that

      the management appear to be standing behind the decision, the conclusion that low IQs are widespread would seem to be the correct one.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Potentially lethal weapon..

    If he were to hold a baby hostage and threaten to feed it the 3in "gun" in question. Will no one think of the children?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "There are lots of reasons an item could be prevented from going through security."

    Not the least being that security is mindless and its operatives oblivious to their intended purpose.

  55. Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of the time...

    ... 8 years ago whilst flying on a family holiday, my mother pulled an 11 inch serrated breadknife out of her hand-luggage to cut up the cake she'd also packed for us to eat en-route

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " There are lots of reasons an item could be prevented from going through security."

    I dare you to give one that won't reduce me to tears of laughter in this context.

  57. John Sturdy

    Where society went wrong

    Things like this have convinced me that granting legal adulthood a set number of years after birth is one of the biggest mistakes in modern civilization. If we counted people as adult once they were observed to *be* adult, we could keep people like our current airport security staff under responsible supervision when in a place where they can affect the public.

    Same goes for most MPs.

  58. Nick Galloway

    Train travel

    If only the train went to Canada!

    Now if it was someone from the USA, the bods a Gatwick might find themselves speaking with a lawyer, wouldn't that be just desserts!!!

  59. Graham Marsden

    Latest News: Security Theatre reduces Carbon Emissions...

    ... It has been announced today that worldwide carbon emissions from air travel have been significantly reduced because more and more people are refusing to be treated as potential terrorists simply for wanting to get on an aeroplane and are choosing not to travel by air...

  60. JaitcH

    Gatwick security as dumb as U.S. Homeland Security

    You have to wonder just how purile 'security' experts can get. And they wonder why people think airport security is a joke.

    Good to have a heads-up on where yet another bunch of idiots live in England, apart from Heathrow and Manchester. It's hard to believe that Gatwick actually has a new management team.

    Do airports really appreciate how tales like these hurt tourism, along with the high cost of living in the UK, and Plod checking your camera and telling people you can't take pictures of ancient monuments?

  61. Anonymous Coward

    What is the correct response to Airport Security...

    ...when they ask you

    "Did you packed your own case?" - "No, my Wife did it, and it's entirely possible should would try to fit me up a cocaine smuggler"

    or "Do you have knowledge of explosives?" - "Well with my degree in Chemistry and penchant for Braniac I could knock together enough thermite to burn a hole in your aircraft"

    or "Do you have any knowledge of Terrorism" - "Well I listen to the Radio 4 Today programme, and am familiar with the methods of Al Qaeda"

    Sometimes, too much truth at airports can be as dangerous as too little.

    ProTip: If you do wish to smuggle live arms thro customs, just dis-assemble them and claim they are 'engineering samples' -

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The correct response...

      ... is writing to your MP. Everything else by now labels you as a "probably suspected possible terrorist". And, well, who speaks up for themselves these days? Writing your MP? Make a single misspeeling and it's off to gaol you go, for inciting terror through literary assault!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Could anyone have interfered with your luggage?

      A decade or so ago a whole class of us from Uni went on a chartered plane to Ireland. Among other things, we visited a high-tech factory, leaving all our bags unattended while we donned bunny-suits and toured the gigantic cleanroom. A few hours later, at the airport for the flight back, I was asked the usual "could anyone have tampered with your bag?". Being relatively new to flying, and naive, I said "yes". The girl on the check-in desk simply repeated the question until she got the answer "no"!

  62. Peter O'Brien
    IT Angle

    £135 ???

    Isn't the real story here that a plastic figurine sells at £135 and someone actually forked out that much for it?

    Maybe the price of the figurine is also to scale and reflects the actual cost of the military kit. Can someone do the math on that verify?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      We took 135 quid off a North American tourist; please don't make a fuss.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just toy guns, not just the Brits.

    Travelling back from Euro Disney some seven or eight years ago we had a 'replica' knife confiscated by French customs.

    I say 'replica'. It was a four inch green plastic Peter Pan 'replica' dagger, complete with 'replica' plastic saphires and rubies on the 'gold' hilt. The 'blade' was at least 5mm wide and criss crossed with plastic webs to reinforce it so that it didn't snap... You would have had a job pushing it through a piece of wet paper let alone anything else. But, to the French officers, it was still a knife and had to go in the bin alongside the white plastic (with bobble end) Captain Hook 'replica' sword that they had no doubt confiscated off some other four year old terrorist earlier in the day...

    Now, if I had bought the seven inch 'replica' solid alloy cast of the Eiffel Tower complete with pointy end that all the gift shops in the airport were selling then I could have taken it on without issue... That of course couldn't do any damage at all.

  64. Risky


    I go through Gatwick Security every week and after a few months they managed to spot something in my wallet that I could have used to take over the plane: Yes a 3cm spanner for the Dremmel collet nut.

  65. chrisjw37

    And the Jobsworth award of the year goes to

    Mr Jobsworth of Gatwick who is so anal he can't see the difference between a plastic toy and a real gun.

    Fools and Charlatans

    This year I'll pack my Airfix pack of 150 8th infantry plastic soldiers (1.2" high)

    and see if I get arrested for bringing in an invasion army.

    Remember them?

    Rokkie's will say no - it wasn't on Playstation.

  66. Maty

    how ...

    ...did the grandchildren of the people who fought in WWII end up as a generation of such abject cowards?

    It's not the jobsworths at Gatwick who are to blame here - nor the politicians who passed the damn stupid laws in the first place.

    It's the people who elected them. Our generation's unofficial motto is 'prove it is not dangerous' - even if its a 3" plastic rifle.

    Hand grenade - to draw attention to the Reg's blatant and probably illegal incitement to violence by allowing the use of this icon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You had the power. What power? The power to vote! Who voted? You did, you did.

      At the risk of displeasing, sir, might I point out that it doesn't seem to matter who you voted for, as each and every politician was well and truly in the grip of the terror panic? And by and large still is.

      Now who spirited away the Toby icon?

  67. YumDogfood

    No freebies!

    If you have to leave something behind, remember to knacker it totally; bend it, break it and give it a good thrashing. "If it can be used or is regarded as a weapon then its the responsible thing to do; to de-weaponize it!" Don't take no for an answer - its still your property remember. No more freebie toys for the spawn of Mr or Ms Hitler.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    questionable security

    I bet they forgot to check the soldier for grenades, boot knife or a small hand gun stashed in the ruck sack. Did the flight attendants bother to make sure his communictation was off during take-off and landing?

  69. Buzzby

    Low IQ's

    What are these people? What are they paid??? The obvious answer is monkeys & peanuts.

  70. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Smuggle guns in the post

    So if I get this right, it was a firearm, and as such was illegal to take onto a plane. However if you have an illegal firearm at Gatwick airport, you can legally post it overseas?

    Bartender another please, I still don't understand...

  71. Tatsky

    Get your facts straight.

    It turns out that they were going to let the guy travel with the weapon. A supervisor was heard saying "Let him take it, no one could cause any damage with that".

    However, they quickly reversed this decision when they realised Chuck Norris was lining up to clear security.

    Have more respect for Chuck.

  72. mr-tom


    Surely it's time...

  73. Anonymous Coward

    So many possibilities....

    Help me choose my snarky response to this case of bureaucracy-gone-mad.....

    1. In Soviet Britain, airport hijacks armed terrorist!!

    2. What exactly is the definition of "numpty", because as an American I want to know if it applies in this case

    3. Thank God that nobody tried to mail that gun directly from a Royal Post office. I'm sure that they would never let a dangerous weapon like that travel through the mail if they had known!

    4. As an American, I would like to protest the exportation of high-tech British mini-assault rifles to our treacherous northern neighbors. Your taking sides in our eternal struggle with the Great White North means that this time next week the Canucks will be in downtown Detroit and Buffalo!! This time the week after next the same Canucks will be asking themselves why they bothered to make the trip, who stripped their car and how do they get home!!

    5. Curse you, British airport security!! You foiled my plan to hijack the 1/12th scale radio-controlled Spitfire traveling in the cargo hold! However, we will meet again!! Love, Osama

    1. Archie The Albatross

      Definition of "Numpty"

      Originally a Glaswegian (certainly Scottish) term to describe one not possessed of the brains they were born with. An idiot, a fool, a dullard, a dolt.

      It most certainly applies in this case, I think.

  74. This post has been deleted by its author

  75. Lars Silver badge


    Power make people mad.

  76. Anonymous Coward

    Low IQ staff? Consider the alternative...

    Airport security is absolutely ridiculous - not least when you consider that the pilots (who ultimately have total control of the plane, not to mention an emergency axe in the cabin) have to go through the same rigmarole!

    However, for protecting your plane, would you prefer to have a jobsworth "with a single digit IQ" who point blank states rules are rules and won't discuss anything... or someone with a double-digit IQ who /thinks/ they know what's real/replica/safe/dangerous and who could be talked-around by a potential terrorist carrying something genuinely destructive?

  77. Anonymous Coward


    Some years back, pre 9/11, I was travelling back from Lyon and the metal-detector was on hyper-sensitive - almost everyone triggered the alarm. But the girl on duty just kept passing it off "probably the pen in your pocket, sir - off you go", "probably the belt-buckle, walk on" etc etc. The girl who was supposed to be watching the X-ray was being chatted up by the security-guard. It was like a scene from Airplane!

  78. Lars Silver badge

    People like that

    should be sacked because they will make stupid decisions also when there is a real threat.

    So that if I make a gun look like a walking stick they will certainly accept it as it looks like a walking stick.

    Be sure not to take any gun like candy with you.

    My son, at the time some six years old, and prohibited from having any "guns" bye his mother, used to take a piece of bread biting it into the shape of a pistol, happily saying bang bang.

    I am sure they would have detected that threat too.

  79. FordPrefect

    Why the hell....

    Cant these stupid spokespeople just admit yes our staff member was iwrong and we have given them a few choice words of wisdom so this stupidity will not happen again. Job done end of it, instead some stupid idiot just ends up making the company look not only completely moronic but also completely arrogant too

  80. Christoph

    @ Anonymous Coward: What is the correct response to Airport Security

    >> "Did you packed your own case?" - "No, my Wife did it, and it's entirely possible should would try to fit me up a cocaine smuggler" <<

    Unfortunately that one has happened. The case several years ago when someone hid a bomb in his pregnant girlfriend's luggage before she went on a flight.

    Sod all they can really do about it of course, but I suppose they ask the question on the off chance it might make someone remember something suspicious?

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The trouble is....

    What words can you use to describe people that REALLY ARE that stupid?

    It exceeds the known standards of descriptions and curses... and settles into silence, an asprin and a short vacation or a good lie down.

    I have to deal with dick heads like this all the time...

    And you can tell the management are IDIOTS, because ONLY people that stupid would employ dumb fucks that ARE that stupid....

    "Drinking Straw Sir? - That bears a remarkable resemblance to a projectile launcher - such as a smooth bore tank gun, shot gun, rocket launcher or other devices that have the capacity to kill and or destroy an aircraft in flight....

    You do know that it's illegal to bring a prohibited weapon onto the airport grounds or passenger boarding areas?

    Please come to the interview room and bring your identification papers with you"...

    You should be able to get a license to beat up stupid arseholes; or at the very least, to send them a shower proof, electric hair dryer....

  82. nasz
    Big Brother


    Good job they didn't pack a book on handguns, the authorities would have to cut out each gun on every page!

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