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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Airport security stop child's toy
Bubbles
The plastic toy blows bubbles up to a distance of 5ft
A six-year-old girl has been stopped from taking a fish-shaped bubble gun on a plane from Humberside Airport after officials said it was a security risk.

Wayne Coles, of Hull, said his daughter was distraught when they were told the plastic toy from a Finding Nemo set had to be checked in or confiscated.

But when their flight to Lanzarote was diverted to Manchester due to fog, guards there had no issue with the toy.

Humberside Airport said carrying toy guns in hand luggage was an offence.

Mr Coles was at the airport with his two daughters, aged six and 11, for the start of a week-long holiday.

I thought they were kidding when the guy even fired the bubble gun and it made a 'whoo, whoo' noise
Wayne Coles

As they made their way through security checks, officials stopped his daughter to look at the Disney play set and said she could not take the gun on board as it was a security risk.

"I thought he was joking but then a policeman appeared and agreed with him," said Mr Coles.

"I thought they were definitely pulling my leg when the guy even 'fired' the bubble gun and it made a 'whoo, whoo' noise - but they weren't."

Mr Coles was told he must check the gun in as luggage or leave it behind.

"I was fuming," he said. "My daughter was almost in tears. It got the trip off to a really bad start."

'Element of discretion'

He said he was then left scratching his head when they were sent to Manchester for an alternative flight and had no problem taking the bubble gun on board.

"What hope have we got in the fight against terror when our own security staff cannot distinguish between a genuine security risk and a child's bubble gun that's bright orange and black, plastic and shaped like a fish?" he said.

A spokesman for Humberside Airport said Department for Transport regulations on carrying toy or replica guns were very clear and non-permitted items would be confiscated by security.

"However, where the toy is not a direct replica of a weapon, as in this case, there is an element of discretion for individual security staff to make the decision," he said.

"To be certain, parents of young children wishing to take toys on holiday should pack these items in their hold luggage."


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