By Angelos Anastasiou
A BRITISH passenger on a UK-bound flight out of Cyprus was detained by security at Birmingham airport earlier last month for carrying a stun gun and three knuckle dusters, the regional daily Express and Star reported.
The man, who was reported as being in his 30s, was held for questioning at Birmingham airport after disembarking a plane originating from Paphos.
Airport authorities searched the man’s luggage shortly after and found the weapons he had been carrying.
Following questioning, the man was released and his information was passed to the National Crime Agency, the Express and Star reported.
“Border Force officers at Birmingham Airport seized a stun gun and three knuckle dusters found during a baggage search after the arrival of a flight from Cyprus,” a Home Office spokesperson said.
“Items like this are extremely dangerous, which is why the controls on bringing them into the UK are so strict. Travellers should remember that just because you can legally buy an item while on holiday abroad does not mean you can bring it back to the UK.”
“Pleading ignorance is simply no defence,” the spokesperson said.
The incident, which took place on July 19, raises questions about the level of security at Cyprus airports as the man had been able to pass the items through Paphos security.
“These items are certainly illegal,” a Paphos airport security official told the Cyprus Mail. “It is impossible that he went through security with any of these items in his hand-luggage – they would have been spotted and confiscated. He must have carried them in his hold luggage.”
“We have a bagful of them,” another airport official told the Cyprus Mail. “If they’re carrying anything prohibited in their handbags, it will be found and seized. But hold luggage is another matter, because only explicitly dangerous items are prohibited in those – you could carry a sword in checked luggage if you wanted to.”
But despite the fact that all hold luggage is also subject to security checks prior to being loaded onto commercial aircraft, it appears that this traveller was able to pass illegal items through security and onto the plane.
“It’s possible,” the Paphos airport official said. “Checked luggage gets inspected, but things could get missed.”