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Last Updated:  Friday, 14 March, 2003, 13:02 GMT
Teenager barred from flight
Gatwick Airport
The boy was allowed on a later flight
A teenager who jokingly told airline check-in staff he had a gun in his luggage has been barred from flying with classmates to Lanzarote.

Sufyan Sadiq, 16, from Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, made the claim when he was asked routine security questions at Gatwick Airport on Thursday morning.

He was not allowed on the JMC flight to Arrecife, but instead took a later flight with a different airline and joined his group from Stamford College that evening.

A spokesman for JMC said the airline had adopted a "zero tolerance" policy after 11 September and voided the tickets of passengers who made such comments.

Bags searched

He said: "We will not tolerate any statements which could put passengers' lives at risk, even though it may have been said as a school joke.

"No one knew for certain that the boy was not telling the truth until his bags had been searched.

"Other passengers were checking in and heard the boy's statement.

"Such remarks cause distress."

Police informed

Stamford College, which organised the trip for 20 students and three teachers, said it would investigate the matter once Sufyan had returned.

School marketing manager Jayne Olney said: "It is a prank in one respect, but with very serious implications which the college totally deplore."

Gatwick Airport teminal manager Andy Rozumski said such jokes caused distress to other passengers.

"A lot of people make comments like that, then afterwards, when questioned, they realise the seriousness and fall back on saying it's only a joke."

He said all such comments were reported to the police, who would decide what action to take.

Airport bans toy gun comic
01 Mar 03 |  England
'Joke' threats discouraged
19 Feb 03 |  England

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