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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Bag thefts up after terror alert
Hand baggage sign (image: AFP/Getty images)
Hand baggage had to be put in the hold during the 'critical' terror threat
Baggage thefts from passengers using two airports have increased since the current security alert began, police have confirmed.

There have been 52 thefts of items placed in the hold on inbound flights to Gatwick Airport in Sussex, compared to 16 during the same period last year.

Eight passengers on outbound flights have reported items being stolen.

A spokesman for Essex Police said twelve thefts had been reported at Stansted Airport since Thursday.

He said there would normally be two thefts during a normal five-day period.

The thefts from passengers flying into Gatwick Airport have increased by more than 200%.

Hand luggage has had to be put in the hold following the terror alert, which began on Thursday.

Reported thefts

Insp Geoff Charnock, of Sussex Police, said the theft figures should be understood in the context of 140,000 people using the airport each day.

Police said there had been no increase in baggage theft at Heathrow, Luton, Bournemouth, Bristol or Newcastle airports.

Leicestershire Police have received no reports of baggage theft from Nottingham East Midlands Airport over the past five days.

And there have been no reported thefts at all so far in August at Birmingham International Airport and Norwich airport.

A spokeswoman for Leicestershire Police said it was difficult to quantify the number of thefts because passengers may report them in their destination country or wait until they return to the UK.

'Slashed bags'

One Gatwick passenger, Paula Ryan, said she had items stolen from her luggage after flying into the airport's north terminal from Zante, in Greece, on Sunday.

She put her handbag with her main bag in the hold of the aircraft but when she arrived, the combination lock was gone and the contents of her handbag had spilled into her main bag.

"My mobile phone, sunglasses and other items had been stolen," she said.

"Bags and suitcases were coming onto the carousel slashed, cut, damaged and open with clothes spilling out."




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