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Gatwick Airport security swoops on 3-inch rifle

Contains deadly toy soldier menace

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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 souvenir - bought during a visit to the Royal Signals Museum at Dorset's Blandford Camp - triggered a scanner alarm, prompting security intervention.

Lloyd explained to the Sun: "As the figurine was pulled from the box, the security search officer contacted her supervisor. The SA80 rifle 'could not pass'. My wife Julie asked the staff to take a reality check. It's a 9in painted model with a rifle that is part of the figure.

"The supervisor was confident that, according to the regulations, a firearm is a firearm and cannot pass. The rifle could not travel."

Lloyd and his missus were allowed to pack the rifle in a padded envelope for postal dispatch to his Ontario home. It arrived five days later "bent but not broken".

Lloyd concluded: "Perhaps its story has become part of Gatwick's unofficial mythology - how unthinking regulations successfully protected the free world from the threat of terrorism."

A Gatwick Airport spokeswoman offered: "Firearms and items with the appearance of firearms are prohibited. There are lots of reasons an item could be prevented from going through security."

Readers will doubtless agree that this is a top piece of work by the Gatwick Airport security services. It isn't however, in the same league as their Heathrow counterparts' 2008 effort, when they prevented an IT consultant boarding a British Airways flight to Dusseldorf wearing a t-shirt showing Optimus Prime wielding a cartoon gun.

The Sun has snaps of Mr Lloyd and the offending SA80 right here. ®

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