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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Police plea over 'holiday weapons'
Strathclyde Police poster
Holidaymakers are being urged to act sensibly
Scottish holidaymakers are being urged not to bring back weapons from abroad this year.

The plea came from police and customs officials who revealed that they have seized hundreds of offensive weapons in the last year alone.

Officials said that most holidaymakers do not realise they are breaking the law after buying ornamental swords and knives as souvenirs abroad.

However, although legal in most European countries, many of the items are illegal in Scotland and will be confiscated by customs at the airport.

Most people do not intend any harm when they buy the weapons but we have to consider the consequences
Ricky Gray
Strathclyde Police
Ricky Gray, assistant chief constable with Strathclyde Police, said the force was launching a campaign to warn people not to return to Scotland with "offensive weapons".

"It is our responsibility to work closely with customs and airport security to ensure that weapons are not smuggled in to find their way on to the streets of Strathclyde," he said.

"Ornamental swords are very popular especially with collectors while fantasy knives, similar to those used by action heroes and in popular computer games, appeal to the younger generation.

"These weapons are easily bought in countries such as Spain and Portugal, however, in Scotland they are considered to be offensive weapons and potentially dangerous.

"Most people do not intend any harm when they buy the weapons but we have to consider the consequences of these same weapons falling into the wrong hands, they could prove fatal."

Airport warning

Among the weapons seized by customs officials so far at Glasgow Airport are swords, knives, death stars and knuckle-dusters.

As a result, billboards and posters highlighting the new initiative will be strategically placed throughout the airport warning travellers that the weapons will be taken from them.

Although the campaign is being launched during the peak holiday season, police said it will continue throughout the year.

Dave Clark, head of detection for customs in Scotland, said: "The public should be warned that anyone caught trying to bring back offensive weapons will have their details passed to the police for intelligence purposes."

Richard Watson, terminal manager at Glasgow Airport advised people to be careful of items that other countries class as "souvenirs".

He added: "Security is the responsibility of the departing airport and Glasgow Airport will confiscate any items carried in hand luggage which could be used to endanger the aircraft, crew or passengers on board.

Gillian Millar reports
"Parents are being warned to watch what their children are buying abroad"

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