Airport security officials brand three inch toy gun "firearm"

Bournemouth Echo: Scanned, X-rayed and put in a padded envelope to fly to Canada Scanned, X-rayed and put in a padded envelope to fly to Canada

IT may be three inches long and made of plastic – but that didn’t stop a toy soldier’s gun being branded a “firearm” by zealous airport officials.

Ken Lloyd and his wife bought the “signaller crouching” figurine during a recent visit to the Royal Signals Museum at Blandford Garrison.

But when the box containing the figure passed through the scanning machine at Gatwick airport, security officials declared the tiny plastic rifle a “firearm”.

Husband, Ken Lloyd, said his wife had demanded “a reality check”.

“The antenna was individually scanned as suspect and as the figurine’s SA80 rifle was pulled from the box, the security search officer contacted her supervisor,” he said.

Mrs Lloyd was directed back to the airport concourse and made her way to a branch of WH Smith and bought a padded envelope to post the rifle home.

“The two patrolling policemen didn’t seem to mind. They didn’t even notice. The numerous security people sitting around the concourse didn't leap to their feet as she passed,” said Mr Lloyd.

But when she tried to post the padded envelope, she hit another set back.

“These small padded envelopes are guaranteed to comply with postal regulations anywhere in the world, except Gatwick airport. The security mail slot was too narrow,” she said.

Mrs Lloyd was directed to the airport’s customer service department for suggestions on how to post the envelope.

They agreed to scan the sealed envelope to save reopening it, but it was too light to activate the scanner.

A radio was placed on the scanner and the envelope was X-rayed and posted by the customer service person.

Five days later, it arrived at the Lloyds’ home in Canada.

Royal Signals Museum spokesman Adam Forty said: “The Royal Signals Museum is a military museum and takes security very seriously, especially around military installations and airports, but this does seem more than a little excessive. “The ‘firearm’ is three inches long and cast out of resin. It’s probably just as well we didn’t sell her a toy tank.”

Comments (25)

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11:44am Wed 26 Jan 11

Fur_Cue says...

A weapon like this was recently used in an armed raid on a Barbie house.
Action man was suspected but no one was ever charged
A weapon like this was recently used in an armed raid on a Barbie house. Action man was suspected but no one was ever charged Fur_Cue

12:01pm Wed 26 Jan 11

ben111 says...

Fur_Cue wrote:
A weapon like this was recently used in an armed raid on a Barbie house. Action man was suspected but no one was ever charged
I think it was Ken as barbie had been having an affair with action man and ken was trying to fit action man for the job
[quote][p][bold]Fur_Cue[/bold] wrote: A weapon like this was recently used in an armed raid on a Barbie house. Action man was suspected but no one was ever charged[/p][/quote]I think it was Ken as barbie had been having an affair with action man and ken was trying to fit action man for the job ben111

12:19pm Wed 26 Jan 11

rodoftruth says...

I cannot believe this story....Sorry Echo - you need to double-check it.

True though is that a 10.30 Sunday morning I noticed a large police van with a speed camera looking out the back.
As I passes I noticed in very large red blocks was wriiten: COMMUNITY REASSURANCE POLICING PROGRAMME.

Presumably if I d seen an Alsation chasing a woman with a buggy the dog would have had marked on its coat COMMUNITY REASSURANCE DOG TRAINING PROGRAMME
I cannot believe this story....Sorry Echo - you need to double-check it. True though is that a 10.30 Sunday morning I noticed a large police van with a speed camera looking out the back. As I passes I noticed in very large red blocks was wriiten: COMMUNITY REASSURANCE POLICING PROGRAMME. Presumably if I d seen an Alsation chasing a woman with a buggy the dog would have had marked on its coat COMMUNITY REASSURANCE DOG TRAINING PROGRAMME rodoftruth

12:27pm Wed 26 Jan 11

reefskeptic says...

The security people obviously thought that it was a "add water to swell to full size" design .

You know the new ones that are being developed to get past customs and council spending security checks ?

Theres a company that has the patent for this concept. Yes thats right ... we all know the one..
The security people obviously thought that it was a "add water to swell to full size" design . You know the new ones that are being developed to get past customs and council spending security checks ? Theres a company that has the patent for this concept. Yes thats right ... we all know the one.. reefskeptic

12:48pm Wed 26 Jan 11

simonhumby says...

In the remotest chance that this is a true story then I would say that that particular security guard would perhaps be better placed in a different post. Though this lack or training, or indeed of any sense whatsoever, would also be a gross management failing.
In the remotest chance that this is a true story then I would say that that particular security guard would perhaps be better placed in a different post. Though this lack or training, or indeed of any sense whatsoever, would also be a gross management failing. simonhumby

1:06pm Wed 26 Jan 11

tonyrichards1 says...

Typical bloody political correctness gone mad as usual

Iwhat happens is these airport staff see no action all day, then this toy comes along and they get excited...all a bunch of ******
Typical bloody political correctness gone mad as usual Iwhat happens is these airport staff see no action all day, then this toy comes along and they get excited...all a bunch of ****** tonyrichards1

2:00pm Wed 26 Jan 11

sollie says...

If it not on this weeks episode of "Come fly with me" it should be.
If it not on this weeks episode of "Come fly with me" it should be. sollie

2:04pm Wed 26 Jan 11

Phixer says...

"being branded a “firearm” by zealous customs officials."


The Echo must find its 'writers' sleeping on its doorstep. 'Customs' aka HMRC doesn't have anything to do with this.
"being branded a “firearm” by zealous customs officials." The Echo must find its 'writers' sleeping on its doorstep. 'Customs' aka HMRC doesn't have anything to do with this. Phixer

2:05pm Wed 26 Jan 11

Phixer says...

Welcome to the 3rd-world airports aka Heathrow and Gatwick run by 'Bloody Awful Airports PLC'!

I hate having to use either.
Welcome to the 3rd-world airports aka Heathrow and Gatwick run by 'Bloody Awful Airports PLC'! I hate having to use either. Phixer

2:21pm Wed 26 Jan 11

Tezza1965 says...

Actually this "firearm" is dangerous. If someone tried to hijack a plane with it people would die..... laughing.
Actually this "firearm" is dangerous. If someone tried to hijack a plane with it people would die..... laughing. Tezza1965

2:25pm Wed 26 Jan 11

DST says...

Phixer,

BAA sold Gatwick in October 2009.

Maybe you should give then another try!
Phixer, BAA sold Gatwick in October 2009. Maybe you should give then another try! DST

3:12pm Wed 26 Jan 11

RM says...

Some years ago, going through security at Bournemouth, my keyring was picked out by the x-ray machine because it had a minute pen knife attached - about 1.5 ins long - which I had completely forgotten about. I was told to go & buy an envelope & I could post it home. So far so good - however, when I came through again I was told that I also needed to remove a whistle (which I use when dogwalking) & post it home. I'm still trying to figure that one out.
Some years ago, going through security at Bournemouth, my keyring was picked out by the x-ray machine because it had a minute pen knife attached - about 1.5 ins long - which I had completely forgotten about. I was told to go & buy an envelope & I could post it home. So far so good - however, when I came through again I was told that I also needed to remove a whistle (which I use when dogwalking) & post it home. I'm still trying to figure that one out. RM

4:37pm Wed 26 Jan 11

captsanders says...

April 1st has come early this year.
April 1st has come early this year. captsanders

6:25pm Wed 26 Jan 11

Xchurch-man says...

If this is a representative sample of the IQ of the people responsible for security at our airports it is a small miracle that planes are not blown out of the sky on a daily basis.
I think retraining for the individuals involved is required in order that they are able to spot REAL threats.
If this is a representative sample of the IQ of the people responsible for security at our airports it is a small miracle that planes are not blown out of the sky on a daily basis. I think retraining for the individuals involved is required in order that they are able to spot REAL threats. Xchurch-man

7:09pm Wed 26 Jan 11

bomoblondie says...

As every man I have ever dated says...size isn't everything!!!!!!
As every man I have ever dated says...size isn't everything!!!!!! bomoblondie

11:08pm Wed 26 Jan 11

Upkeep says...

Maybe Ken Lloyd is only a foot tall and so respectively the gun would be full size.
Maybe Ken Lloyd is only a foot tall and so respectively the gun would be full size. Upkeep

11:14pm Wed 26 Jan 11

Buffalo_Soldier says...

Should've told them it was a non-functional engineering sample
Should've told them it was a non-functional engineering sample Buffalo_Soldier

8:05am Thu 27 Jan 11

ben111 says...

i think the security guards have been takng tips from the program COME FLY WITH ME , with Mat lucas
i think the security guards have been takng tips from the program COME FLY WITH ME , with Mat lucas ben111

9:19am Thu 27 Jan 11

reefskeptic says...

i got it - the guards have watched too much "toy story" 1, 2 etc - these things can become real ... in their view?
i got it - the guards have watched too much "toy story" 1, 2 etc - these things can become real ... in their view? reefskeptic

10:00am Thu 27 Jan 11

Azphreal says...

This is not a new thing to happen,i remember not long after 9/11 a story of how the weapons from a GI JOE figure were removed (the US version of ACTION MAN). It was not long ago that a pilot was caught and told to leave behind a small fruit knife and as he explained he would be flying a weapon a lot bigger than a 1.5 inch blade.
This is not a new thing to happen,i remember not long after 9/11 a story of how the weapons from a GI JOE figure were removed (the US version of ACTION MAN). It was not long ago that a pilot was caught and told to leave behind a small fruit knife and as he explained he would be flying a weapon a lot bigger than a 1.5 inch blade. Azphreal

10:08am Thu 27 Jan 11

reefskeptic says...

@azpheal, disarming GI joe is prudent as we all know what could happen if he got to toy story - it would be a calamity, but fruit peeling ? remember it was box cutters that caused 911. Now action man - he was left with nothing more than kung fu skills I'm sad to report. One must be alert and non complacent with these things . One never knows? I say give the man a pay rise for diligence?
@azpheal, disarming GI joe is prudent as we all know what could happen if he got to toy story - it would be a calamity, but fruit peeling ? remember it was box cutters that caused 911. Now action man - he was left with nothing more than kung fu skills I'm sad to report. One must be alert and non complacent with these things . One never knows? I say give the man a pay rise for diligence? reefskeptic

10:58am Thu 27 Jan 11

Donnyp says...

What is this world coming to!!!!
What is this world coming to!!!! Donnyp

11:30am Thu 27 Jan 11

reefskeptic says...

@donnyp, the lesson is never bring a toy miniture gun to an airport - never know what might happen?
@donnyp, the lesson is never bring a toy miniture gun to an airport - never know what might happen? reefskeptic

3:46pm Thu 27 Jan 11

Capt. Ahab (ret.) says...

Ahoy Brethren,
Stamp me ivory!! I be right pleased to thy Echo fer this important information (seriously I do) fer it prove yer cannot be comfortable in yer own skin anywhere these days. Methinks I need words with me Boson, fer when he ‘abroad’ in them darkened alleyways of Boscombe & Bournemouth he do carry about his person quite a fearsome weapon, I’m told it not be that big (does size count?) but somewhat unusual in its application and he do keep it well concealed ‘till he aroused into action then by all accounts, fer I have not witnessed this, he discloses his weapon apparently in such a fashion ladies have swooned and weak men be left simpering. Oft times I have bin summoned to vouch fer his (dubious) character by thy local constables afore they affect his release. It be an honest admission that sometimes I rightly ponder what me Boson do reveal at such times, what pray be this ‘manifestation’ that accomplishes such fear and respect?
Ahoy Brethren, Stamp me ivory!! I be right pleased to thy Echo fer this important information (seriously I do) fer it prove yer cannot be comfortable in yer own skin anywhere these days. Methinks I need words with me Boson, fer when he ‘abroad’ in them darkened alleyways of Boscombe & Bournemouth he do carry about his person quite a fearsome weapon, I’m told it not be that big (does size count?) but somewhat unusual in its application and he do keep it well concealed ‘till he aroused into action then by all accounts, fer I have not witnessed this, he discloses his weapon apparently in such a fashion ladies have swooned and weak men be left simpering. Oft times I have bin summoned to vouch fer his (dubious) character by thy local constables afore they affect his release. It be an honest admission that sometimes I rightly ponder what me Boson do reveal at such times, what pray be this ‘manifestation’ that accomplishes such fear and respect? Capt. Ahab (ret.)

6:28pm Thu 27 Jan 11

alasdair1967 says...

Ok im confused the Lloyd family lives in Canada,the event happened at Gatwick so why is this news in the Echo ?????
The offending item was purchased in Blandford ,so what!if the event happened at Bournemouth airport then yes its local news but gatwick is 2 hours away in the south east im sure Crawley has an evening paper
Ok im confused the Lloyd family lives in Canada,the event happened at Gatwick so why is this news in the Echo ????? The offending item was purchased in Blandford ,so what!if the event happened at Bournemouth airport then yes its local news but gatwick is 2 hours away in the south east im sure Crawley has an evening paper alasdair1967

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