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Saturday, 20 October, 2001, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Hi-tech scanner for East Midlands
Scanner at East Midlands Airport
The new technology will speed up scanning at airports
A large scanner capable of detecting drugs, tobacco and explosives has been brought in at East Midlands airport.

The scanner is effectively a huge mobile X-ray machine that can scan a line of cargo containers at once.

It has been developed to detect anything organic, such as drugs, tobacco and explosives in checks which in the past could only be done by hand.

A spokesman for the East Midlands Airport said it is the first regional airport to use the scanner to detect illegal goods.

Cargo aircraft at East Midlands Airport
The machine can scan a cargoload in an hour

It would take 45 minutes manually to check an average cargo container by hand for illegal tobacco or explosives.

The American-made scanner can look at a series of 25 cargo containers in less than an hour.

The scanner is already used at docks in the UK to check lorries entering the country from Europe or other regions

Cocaine found

The machine was used to discover hidden cocaine in a shipment than might otherwise have gone undetected.

John Powell of customs and excise said: "It has been very successful in Dover and other ports.

"We have seized millions of cigarettes and masses of class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine using the scanner."

Another 20 scanners will arrive at other regional airports across the country in the near future.


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See also:

22 Jun 99 | UK
14.5m drugs seizure
03 Apr 01 | Northern Ireland
2m drugs seizure by Irish police
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