A clay pigeon shooter has claimed airport security failed to spot live shotgun cartridges in his pocket while his toothpaste and aftershave were seized as a risk.
George Thomas, 19, who unwittingly took live shotgun cartridges with him on board a plane.
The incident happened when four staff at green consultancy Carbon Managers left Bristol Airport for a tree-planting trip in Scotland.
George Thomas, 19, an account manager, had toothpaste and aftershave taken by the security guard but he only realised when he reached Inverness that a handful of undetected live rounds were in his coat.
Geremy Thomas, director of the company, which helps businesses become carbon neutral, said he could not believe the security had picked out his son's toothpaste but overlooked the live cartridges.
Mr Thomas, 48, from Frome, Somerset, said "We only had hand luggage. We went through the scanner and my son George was pulled aside. His toothpaste and after shave were captured by the security guard."
He said the cartridges were left over from a clay pigeon shoot. "That was a mistake on his part and he will learn from that.”
"None of us could believe that they had confiscated his toiletries but completely missed live ammunition."
The airport said it had no record of the incident having taken place, but said it was fully compliant with all screening regulations. "No ammunition is allowed on board a plane," a spokesman said.
Yes it's hard to believe that they were not aware of the cartridges in the first place. I smell a rat! I don't know how you or anyone else feels about this but I think that if I had done something similar by accident, I would rather keep quiet about it so not to get myself into trouble.
Immigration Officials Deport Four Americans from Bristol Airport
A mini outbreak of American citizens trying to enter the UK illegally through Bristol Airport has been detected by immigration officials.
In the past week alone four Americans have been deported after attempting to enter the UK illegally at the airport.
Among them was an American man who wanted to move to the UK to live with a woman he met on Facebook - despite having no permission for residency in this country.
Carole Upshall, regional director for the UK Border Agency's Border Force South, said: "We will not tolerate people coming here to live and work illegally."
"As well as being extremely skilful at spotting forged documents, our officers interview suspicious passengers who try to circumvent UK border controls at our airports and portsIf someone wants to come to the UK they have to apply for the correct visa. If we suspect someone is not genuinely coming to visit the UK and is likely to stay longer, we will refuse them entry."
On April 17, a 38-year-old American man arrived from Portland, via Amsterdam, in possession of a large amount of luggage.
He told UK Border Agency officers that he had met a British woman on Facebook and was travelling to Yeovil to see her.
He added that he had left his job and intended to settle permanently in the UK despite not having secured a visa to do so.He was removed from the UK the next day.
Three days earlier on April 15, an American man and woman - aged 36 and 20 respectively - arrived in Bristol from Salt Lake City, via Amsterdam.
Despite having no visa giving them the right to work in the UK, the pair admitted in an interview with UK Border Agency officers that they had given up jobs in the USA and intended to work illegally in Britain.
They were removed to the USA the next day.
On April 16, a 20-year-old woman arrived at Bristol on a Continental Airways flight from Newark.
During an interview with UK Border Agency officers, she admitted working illegally on a previous visit to the UK and overstaying her six-month leave to enter the country.
She was detained and removed from the country the following day.
A 38-year-old Pakistani man was also deported this week after arriving at Bristol.
He was sent back to the UK on a flight from Girona on April 13 after he had attempted to gain entry to Spain using a forged British passport.
He was given a police caution for possession of forged documents, kept in immigration detention and removed to Pakistan on April 15.
I wonder if authorities are going to be charging Continental Airlines for allowing them to come to Britain? Usually, certainly with UK airlines, the airline is billed for allowing the passenger to fly to the UK in the first place without the correct documents to warrant the persons stay.
A BUSINESSMAN from Cheltenham says he was able to carry a knife on to an aeroplane – even after security staff searched his bag and confiscated a bottle of water.
Adrian Elvy, who lives in Montpellier, was able to walk through security at Bristol airport with the 6in serrated blade in his bag when he boarded an Easyjet plane to Barcelona for a business trip.
The 39-year-old, who runs his own business Stock Wizards Ltd near Longhope and uses the knife to open boxes and containers, says he shocked at the lax security.
He said: "My only luggage was my work holdall which I was taking as hand luggage. I put it through the X-ray machine and I was taken aside and asked to open my bag and they took a litre bottle of Evian water which had come free with a newspaper.
"I went on to the gate and I was buying a bar of chocolate when I found in my bag I had my yachting knife."
Mr Elvy found a nearby policeman and told him that he had a knife which he didn't want to take on the aircraft.
He said: "He told me I was as good as on the plane. he asked me to point out which X-ray machine I went through and then I gave up the knife and went on my way.
"I was shocked because it could have been a lunatic walking on the plane with it.
"It seems worse that I had my water taken. I thought I'm welcome to take my knife on the plane but for heaven's sake don't take any water on."
After his return from Spain, Mr Elvy was able to pick up the knife from the airport's lost property office.
He said: "I was a bit surprised that nobody seemed very interested.
"The knife is all metal and was in the side pocket of the bag so must have been visible. I don't know how they missed it."
A spokesman for Bristol Airport said: "We do not comment in detail on security issues. However, I can confirm that the security process for detection is continually monitored and subject to audit from the Department for Transport. Following any report of this nature an internal investigation is undertaken to ensure procedures are being followed correctly.
"We thank Mr Elvy for acting responsibly in bringing the matter to our attention, and remind all passengers of the need to take care when packing hand baggage."
Looking at a picture of the knife in the Telegraph today you can clearly tell that the knife is no more than three inches and it has a rounded end. You could probably do more damage with a pen and certainly more damage with a woman's stilettos which are allowed through airport security points anyway.
That's a great idea, does it use a type of turnstile system do you know? I think that there are generally not enough immigration officers on duty at most UK airports so anything that helps speed things up can only be a good thing. I wonder what happens if someone has stolen your passport and if the system could also reduce the cost of border control at a time when public spending is likely to be cut over the coming years.
A fake tourist who arrived at Bristol Airport on a one-way ticket to visit his internet girlfriend has been sent home.
The 52-year-old American man arrived on a flight from Newark at 8.55am on Wednesday.
He told UK Border Agency officers at passport control that he wanted to spend three months visiting a woman in Merthyr Tydfil whom he met playing online poker.
However, officers questioned the man and found that not only was he lacking a valid tourist visa, but he had just 250 dollars in cash, no credit cards which could be used in the UK and his girlfriend had paid for a one-way flight.
He had also left his job in the US and claimed to have had an offer of illegal work in the UK.
A baggage search later revealed that he was carrying a box containing his mother's ashes. The man was refused entry to the UK because he was not a genuine tourist and was removed on a flight to Newark on Thursday.
David Holt, acting director for the UK Border Agency's Border Force South, said: "If we suspect that someone is not genuinely coming to visit the UK, we refuse them entry."
The Government is currently introducing sweeping changes to the UK's border security and immigration system.
At Bristol Airport, facial recognition gates have recently been installed at passport control allowing a secure, efficient journey through the UK's border for legitimate passengers while making it more difficult for criminals and illegal migrants to get into the country.
The gates can be used by any UK or European passenger aged over 18 who has a new e-passport with an electronic chip issued since 2006.[/textarea]
Bristol International Airport (BIA) has selected aviation specialist, ICTS, to deliver its security requirements from January 2010. The award follows an intensive tender process involving several major UK security providers and will help to improve the airport experience for passengers.
Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of measures designed to improve facilities and services at BIA. Last week an agreement was signed with Pedersen Airport Hotels to develop an on-site hotel with up to 250 rooms. This followed the award of the tax and duty free concession to the UK’s leading duty free operator, WDF, in August and the appointment of a new cleaning contractor, Sasse, in June. Construction of the new Western Walkway, which will reduce the need to bus passengers to and from aircraft, is now well underway and is scheduled for completion before May next year.
ICTS already has a presence at BIA, providing security services for Continental Airlines and TUI (which operates under the First Choice and Thomson brands). The group also operates at airports throughout Europe, including Frankfurt and Paris Charles de Gaulle, and employs over 1,000 people.
At BIA, over 150 staff are employed to deliver security services, implementing Department for Transport regulations governing the search of passengers and baggage. At peak periods, BIA operates seven security search channels, with a further five proposed as part of the airport’s future development. Additional job opportunities with ICTS will be created in line with the anticipated growth in passenger volumes.
Paul Davies, Operations Director at Bristol International Airport, said:
“We are delighted that ICTS will be playing an increased role at BIA, delivering a first-class service to passengers.
“It is vital that airport security complies with an understandably strict regulatory regime, but that does not mean customer service should be compromised. Every outbound passenger must pass through security, so the people delivering this service play an important role in shaping the overall airport experience. We must ensure we provide a service that is both professional and friendly.”
Shaike Rozanski, Managing Director of ICTS (UK), said:
“ICTS is delighted to be awarded the contract for provision of security services at Bristol International Airport. We have been providing services to airline clients at the airport for the past three years and welcome the opportunity to develop our relationship with the airport team.
“We believe we can address the ever changing challenges in aviation security while ensuring a high level of service for passengers.”
In August 2007 BIA invested £3.2 million to extend the terminal’s security search area in order to ensure more rigorous security requirements did not result in increased security queues. In July 2008 a fast-track security option, Fly Thru, was introduced, allowing passengers to pay £5 to by-pass the queue for security (but not the search itself), a benefit previously only available to those travelling business class.
The new security contract will commence in January 2010. All existing security staff will have the option of transferring to ICTS under the TUPE regulations.[/textarea]
[textarea]Bristol planespotters held for 'spying' in India
Diplomatic efforts to free two Bristol plane spotters who were arrested in India were under way today.
Holidaymakers Stephen Hampton, who was 46 yesterday, of Keynsham, and his friend Steve Ayres, 56, of St George, are being held in a detention centre after being accused of spying.
Their room at the Radisson Hotel, overlooking the runway at Indira Gandhi airport in Delhi, was raided by armed police and they were kept there for two days before being moved to the detention centre, which they have branded a "hell hole".
The railway workers, both employed by First Great Western, went to India to watch planes, a hobby they have shared for many years and which has taken them all over the world.
They flew to Delhi on February 11 and asked for a room overlooking the runway. According to Delhi police, the two tracked the arrival and departure of flights of several major airlines.
Mr Ayres, described by his family as such a technophobe that he does not even have a mobile phone, had just a pair of binoculars and a notepad.
Mr Hampton, who is a railway conductor, had a camera, a laptop computer and a "gadget" that attaches to the laptop. Staff at the hotel were suspicious and alerted police, who arrested the two men.
The police were concerned that the equipment Mr Hampton had with him could interfere with communication between aircraft and the airport's communication tower.
Security services in India are on high alert after a cafe was bombed in the city of Pune.
The men's passports were seized and they were questioned. Intelligence agencies checked their recent travel to find out if they had been to Pakistan, Bangladesh or any similar locations.
"We detained them as they were involved in suspicious activities," police commissioner YS Dadhwal said.
Mr Ayres's wife Dorothy and his two daughters Katy, 23, and Helen, 19, were desperate for news of him and appealed to the Indian authorities to allow him to come home.
Mrs Ayres, who has known her husband for 26 years, said he simply liked transport including trains, hot air balloons and buses, but mainly planes and was no spy.
She said: "He doesn't even own a mobile phone. Whenever we go on holiday we have to overlook the airport. He's always got his binoculars round his neck.
"I haven't spoken to him since he went away.
"I spoke to Eileen, Steve's mum, and she said they had been taken to a detention centre.
"They had been taken to have a drink and something to eat at the hotel and were then told they had to go somewhere to fill out forms so they could be deported.
"Then he phoned from the detention centre. He said it was a hell hole."
Katy said: "We do rib him about his hobby but that is all that it is.
"I just want to hear his voice, to know that he is all right.
"He has been to Hong Kong, China, America, all over the world plane spotting without a problem. This is the first time he has gone to India."
She said her son Ryan was missing his grandad.
Mr Ayres works at St Philip's Marsh alongside Railway Maritime and Transport union rep Tony Birch.
Mr Birch said: "I've known Steve for three years. He's a well-known plane spotter and so is his mate. I've negotiated with the company and they have put them on annual leave. We are all supportive of them. This is just a matter of crossed wires and I hope it can be sorted out soon."
Mr Ayres and Mr Hampton had been due to go to India with two other plane spotters from Bristol but there was a booking mix-up and the two other men went the previous week.
Mr Hampton, who lives with his father in Keynsham, managed to call one of his friends in Bristol to tell him what had happened and the friend told Mr Hampton's mother Eileen Cock, 80.
Mrs Cock, a retired secretary, spoke to her son yesterday afternoon. She said: "He's in a detention camp. He's not quite sure what is going on.
"They are very distressed because they are in a place with a lot of other people and poor sanitation.
"They are the only westerners among 30 to 50 others.
"I also spoke to him on Wednesday. He said could I please, please do all I could to help him to get home.
"They spent two nights under guard at the hotel. On Thursday morning they were pleased to be allowed to go into the foyer for a snack and a drink and then I had a call saying they were on their way to a foreign registration office.
"I contacted my MP and he has been so helpful."
Mrs Cock's MP Dan Norris has asked the Foreign Office to intervene and spoke to Foreign Secretary David Miliband yesterday.
He said: "These incidents don't happen very often but the Consular Office is very skilled in dealing with such situations.
"It's about trying to get the authorities to move as quickly as possible to finish whatever they are doing and to make a decision. Hopefully that will be for the men to come home.
"I was able to speak to Stephen on his mobile and I took that as a good sign. If they felt he was a spy they wouldn't have allowed me to speak to him. I spoke to David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, and he assured me that everything was being done diplomatically to get the men home as soon as possible.
"Mrs Cock was really pleased to be able to speak to her son and was able to reassure him that everything possible was being done to get him home."
Foreign Office spokeswoman Hannah Watson said: "We can confirm that two British nationals were arrested in India on February 15 on suspicion of monitoring flights at Delhi international airport.
"Both men are being held in an immigration centre in New Delhi while the Indian authorities continue to investigate the matter.
"The Foreign Office cannot interfere in an ongoing police investigation nor can we secure their release. The British High Commission has raised the case with the Indian authorities though we are restricted in the representations we can make as we cannot interfere in the Indian judicial system.
"Consular staff have been in regular contact with both British nationals and continue to provide consular assistance. We are also in touch with the next of kin in the UK and keeping them informed of developments."
I think it's pretty clear that these guys were just plane spotting, 'but' they have been very stupid to say the least. You just can't go tripping off around the globe and expect the same sort of rules and laws as back here in the UK. Why on earth they didn't check with the airport locally beforehand is beyond me.
IMMIGRANTS' fingerprints had to be taken to Cardiff because Bristol's border control office didn't have the right equipment.
This and other failings have been criticised by the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency in a report on regional operations in the South West and Wales.
Bristol Airport and Bristol Port were both included in the report, which is the first of its kind for the region.
Independent chief inspector John Vine found that the local branches of the UKBA had failed to make the most effective use of technology.
He said: "The lack of adequate tools and technology provided to staff had a negative impact on staff's ability to perform their roles in securing the border as effectively and efficiently as possible.
"Staff had to use slow, unreliable IT systems and this affected efficiency as well as morale.
"The lack of a fingerprint scanner in the Bristol enforcement office resulted in a drain on staff resources, as staff had to take fingerprints to Cardiff to be scanned, as well as the increased costs of detaining people while they waited for the results of the scans.
"It was also completely unacceptable that people should be detained for longer than absolutely necessary simply because of a lack of equipment locally.
"Facial recognition gates had been rolled out in Cardiff and Bristol airports, but resource constraints meant that they could only be used to a limited extent."
There are 300 UKBA staff in the Wales and South West region, which contains sea or airports at Avonmouth, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Falmouth, Fishguard, Holyhead, Newquay, Pembroke Docks, Plymouth, Poole, Swansea, Newport, Cardiff Docks, Barry and Port Talbot.
Holyhead in Wales took the brunt of the criticism in the report, as there were only enough staff to cover one in four shifts, even though it is considered a "high risk" location for illegal immigration.
UKBA staff were seen to act in a polite and respectful manner when dealing with customers and displayed resilience and professionalism in the face of difficult tasks.
But there was an overall perception among staff that change was not managed well and staff had raised concerns about the quality of leadership in the region and bullying.
Mr Vine said: "I was impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated by staff in the Wales and South West region. However, I'm particularly concerned that some staff were expected to work in completely unsatisfactory accommodation."[/textarea]
What a fiasco and this is the organisation that is supposed to be the barrier that prevents illegal immigrants and terrorists entering the country.
Even having the finger-print scanner at Cardiff instead of Bristol is a nonsense given that Bristol has four times as many potential suspects based on numbers of passengers, so there would be likely to be fewer journeys across the Severn to use the scanner if the equipment was based on the English side of the river.
[textarea]Man tried to bring arsenal of weapons through Bristol airport
A MAN caught smuggling an arsenal of offensive weapons through Bristol International Airport told a court he was only bringing the items into the UK to "decorate" his bedroom.
Liam Dimond, 20, of Durban Road, Patchway, appeared at North Somerset Magistrates' Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to 10 offences relating to a haul of dangerous weapons found in his luggage.
On August 28 this year Dimond was stopped after flying into Bristol from Bulgaria with his parents, and a search revealed – among other weapons – flick knives, knuckle dusters and two batons.
Also found was a "Jinan" rechargeable torch/stun gun combination device capable of discharging electricity, which was disguised as a mobile phone. He was also found to have a nun-chuck and throwing stars.
Henrietta Paget, prosecuting, told the court the defendant came into the country from Bulgaria with his parents but was stopped at Bristol Airport. His baggage was searched and the 10 offensive weapons were found, two of which were disguised, a flick knife as a lighter and the stun gun as a mobile.
Dimond, who has two previous convictions for battery, stated he had bought the weapons to display at his home as collection items.
Owen Stickland, for Dimond, told the court his client had bought the items because he had an interest in these sorts of weapons after seeing them in films.
Mr Strickland said it was Dimond's intention to decorate his bedroom with the weapons.
Magistrates said because of the number and type of weapons involved, the fact that he had travelled through an airport and because of his two convictions for battery, their sentencing powers were insufficient.
He was committed to Bristol Crown Court to appear on November 8, at 10am and will remain on conditional bail.
[textarea]Man convicted of stealing from Bristol Airport car park pay machines
A man convicted of a series of thefts from Bristol Airport car park pay machines appeared in court on Friday and has been ordered to pay the money back. At Bristol Crown Court a confiscation order was made to the sum of £3,713.41 against Simon Wells, 37, from Newport, South Wales. The money confiscated is to be paid to Bristol Airport as compensation for their loss.
Wells was convicted in September last year of 11 offences of theft from the Pay on Foot Machines at the airport between 18 March and 27 May 2009. The total value of the thefts was £10,160. On 5 October 2010 he was sentenced to a community order with an unpaid work requirement of 150 hours.
The confiscation order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which allows the police and the Crown Prosecution Service and courts to identify and demand repayment from any assets that criminals have gained as a result of crime.