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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Passengers' sharp reminder
Cardiff International Airport
Nearly 2m passengers travel through Cardiff airport every year
Almost 200 scissors and other sharp objects each day are still being seized by security staff at Cardiff International Airport.

This is nearly three years after a tougher anti-terrorism measures were introduced at international airports after the 9/11 attacks in America.

On average, 180 objects are being confiscated from hand luggage by security staff on a daily basis.

Nail files, scissors and pins are the most common things found by staff.

But a clothes iron, a hammer and an industrial roll of sticky tape are also among 65,500 items confiscated at the airport every year.

As the summer holiday season approaches, the BBC News website found out more about the problem facing the airport security staff.

We had a passenger ask if she could carry peroxide on board because she wanted to do her friend's hair during the flight
Mark Swaine, operations and training manager for security

Mark Swaine, who is the operations and training manager for security at the airport said that although the problem was starting to decrease, many unseasoned passengers were still carrying forbidden items in their hand luggage.

"Obviously because 9/11 happened two years ago, people are starting to realise, especially the seasoned traveller, what they can bring on board," he said.

"But the main problem comes from people who are not flying so frequently.

"Recently we found one passenger with an iron in their hand luggage and we have had one with a hammer and another with a spanner.

"There was another passenger who was carrying a roll of industrial sticky tape which we had to confiscate because it was the same type that is sometimes used by terrorists for gagging people.

"And another time we had a passenger ask if she could carry peroxide on board because she wanted to do her friend's hair during the flight.

Sharp object warning sign
Security officers say passengers who aren't frequent flyers are most likely to forget

"A lot of people just don't see the potential danger of the things they carry on board," he said.

An estimated 1.9 million passengers go through the airport in the Vale of Glamorgan with all undergoing vigilant checks by security staff.

All hand luggage is put through a scanner and checks are made for explosives.

Among the items passengers are forbidden from carrying in hand luggage are toy or replica guns, catapults, household cutlery, items with blades of any length, razor blades, tools, darts, scissors and hypodermic needles (unless required for medical reasons).

Cardiff airport has around 100 security staff and regular police patrols.

I think that when people realise the potential danger of an item that is confiscated, they don't mind
Mark Swaine, operations and training manager for security

"We used to donate a lot of the confiscated items to charity but because of a number of reasons we don't do that anymore including hygiene reasons," said Mr Swaine.

"Everything we confiscate gets melted down now.

"I think that when people realise the potential danger of an item that is confiscated, they don't mind," he added.

"The majority of people we stop seem to be quite reassured by the security measures in place," he added.

One passenger who recently had a nail file removed from her hand luggage before boarding a flight said that despite being embarrassed about being searched she was happy that thorough checks are in place.

The 26-year-old from Cardiff who did not want to be named said: "There was a metal nail file in my bag which had become wedged in a book and to be honest I had forgotten all about it.

"When they were searching my bag I did get a bit worried because I didn't have a clue about what it could be.

"I did feel a bit foolish and embarrassed when I saw what it was but I was really glad to see them making proper checks," she added.


A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport said that if passengers were in doubt about what they were allowed to carry with them to check with their airline or to carry it in their hold luggage.

And the amount of items being confiscated from air passengers hand luggage is not just a problem in Cardiff.

The BAA, which owns seven UK airports, said that over the last two months alone, around 650,000 items were confiscated from hand luggage.

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The future of airport security
12 Nov 03  |  Magazine
Airport security is stepped up
12 Dec 02  |  England

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