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Sunday, 30 December, 2001, 11:13 GMT
Probe into Heathrow 'security breach'
Heathrow Airport
The journalists were 'unchallenged' by airport security
British Airways is launching an investigation after two journalists claimed they carried weapons on to a plane at Heathrow Airport without being stopped.

The pair said they were unchallenged by security guards and even managed to get the blades passed through x-ray machines and onto the domestic flight without any problems.


We are very concerned to hear about this and will be talking to the government to find what can be done to prevent such items getting on board aircraft

British Airways spokesman

One of the Sunday People reporters said he pulled out a miniature cleaver, a four inch dagger and a three inch stiletto knife on the plane en route to Manchester - but nobody raised an eyebrow.

The weapons were disguised as a comb, a pen and a credit-card sized piece of metal, the newspaper said.

Sunday People editor Neil Wallis displays an innocent looking comb
Sunday People editor Neil Wallis displays an innocent looking comb
The apparent security breach comes just days after the arrest of British man Richard Reid who is suspected of trying to detonate explosives in his shoes on board a US-bound flight.

The reporters sat just three rows from the cockpit of the Boeing 737, the newspaper said.

People editor Neil Wallis said: "You could write your name with this pen - but you could also hold it to someone's throat and kill them."

British Airways said safety was the company's first priority and it would carry out its own investigation as well as talk to the government.

Mr Wallis warns of the potential danger to flight crews
But hidden inside the comb is a deadly dagger

A spokesman said: "We are very concerned to hear about this and will be talking to the government to find what can be done to prevent such items getting on board aircraft."

The Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) said: "We are obviously concerned at this report and will be discussing it with British Airways and the British Airports Authority.

"We investigate every incident or suggestion of weakness in security."

Several weeks ago a journalist and photographer sparked a security alert at Stansted Airport in Essex after they said they were able to get into a Go airliner without clearance.

The pair said they walked past a security office without being asked for identification and spent an hour in the hangar and in the plane.

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The BBC's Jane Warr
"British Airways said safety was the company's first priority"
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