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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Police criticised over bomb joke
Airport security scanner
The case has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service
Airline bosses have criticised police for letting a holidaymaker who joked he had a bomb in his luggage walk free.

The 43-year-old man made the comment when he checked in for a Thomas Cook flight from Manchester Airport to Alicante in Spain on 3 April.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) questioned the man but released him without charge.

Thomas Cook said it was "unbelievable" and refused to allow the man and his family to board the flight.

Shaun Robinson, director of communications at Thomas Cook, said he would be seeking a meeting with the police.

What kind of message is this sending out to the already apprehensive public who are about to fly?
Shaun Robinson, Thomas Cook
"In this day and age of heightened security, we find it quite unbelievable that a passenger made a comment about having a bomb in his bag and was left to walk away from the airport without even a caution," he said.

"What kind of message is this sending out to the already apprehensive public who are about to fly?"

A police spokeswoman said: "In order to be able to charge or caution a person for an offence, officers must be able to satisfy very specific points of the law.

"Unfortunately, given the circumstances of this particular incident it was not possible to charge this man at the time of interview.

"However, officers will be referring a file on the incident to the Crown Prosecution Service, so that they can examine the circumstances of what took place."

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