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Thursday, December 25, 1997 Published at 17:48 GMT


Puddings baffle bomb sensors
image: [ This is a Christmas pudding.... ]
This is a Christmas pudding....

Security scanners at a major British airport are being confused by Christmas puddings packed in suitcases.

Hundreds of holidaymakers jetting off for the festive season in the sun have packed the Christmas treats into their luggage.

[ image: ..this is Semtex: Can you tell the difference?]
..this is Semtex: Can you tell the difference?
But Manchester Airport's £14m security scanner system cannot tell the difference between the pudding mix and deadly explosives such as Semtex.

Security officers have been forced to examine hundreds of bags before allowing them onto aircraft.

An airport spokesman said: "The security system is designed to detect organic matter like Semtex, and Christmas puddings have an unusual density which alerts the system.

"The system is simply doing its job and doing it extremely well. It isn't causing any inconvenience or delays to passengers."

Manchester Airport has more scanning machines that any other in the world but Christmas puddings were not one of the many items used to test the equipment when it was installed.

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