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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Man detained after airport alert
Passengers outside Manchester Airport
Police said there was never any danger to passengers
A man who breached security at Manchester Airport has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Police had to subdue him using a Taser gun and also carried out a controlled explosion on a suspect package.

The man had breached a checkpoint at the perimeter fence and was chased by security staff 200m onto the apron, where planes are held, police said.

He was initially held under the Terrorism Act. Police said he would be transferred to a secure unit.

Assistant chief constable Steve Thomas of Greater Manchester Police said the man abandoned his car near a security check point, but was challenged by security staff who told him he could not enter.

Carrying a briefcase, the man then evaded the security officers and ran through the checkpoint.

Manchester Airport

"He was chased by security officers and got as far as 200m into the security perimeter before he was detained by police officers who were very quickly on the scene," Mr Thomas said.

After a violent struggle, officers had to restrain the unidentified man using the stun gun about 0830 BST on Friday.

Parts of terminals one and two were evacuated and closed, but the airport later reopened and advised passengers to report as normal.

The arrested man, who is Asian and speaks little English, was taken to a police station in Greater Manchester.

Army bomb disposal units carried out a controlled explosion on the briefcase, with a 600 metre police cordon set up around the area.

It appears that the airport security system worked exactly as it is intended to
John Spooner
Managing director Manchester Airport

There were no explosives in the case or the car, and there "was no danger to passengers leaving or coming into the airport," Mr Thomas said.

Airport managing director John Spooner said the breach was not a "security lapse".

"At no time did the man get anywhere near an aeroplane. The closest was probably a minimum of 60m away.

"He was being pursued at all times by security officers," Mr Spooner said.

"It appears that the airport security system worked exactly as it is intended to."

The Taser was used as police feared that he may have had explosives around his body or in the case.

The briefcase, containing clothes, papers and a passport, was "pushed away" by a security officer during the struggle.

Police removed the cordon after about three hours, saying the operation was being scaled down and passengers and staff were allowed back in.

Security lapses

There was a backlog of flights following the incident, with delays of up to three hours reported on some flights.

It is not the first time that security at Manchester Airport has been called into question.

Last year a BBC investigation revealed serious security lapses at the airport after a reporter working as an aviation security officer was encouraged to flout Department for Transport rules on bag searches.

Meanwhile, in 2002, a guard was suspended after fake explosives, detonators and genuine firearms passed a security check for a commercial flight at the airport.

The arms were taken on to a flight to Gatwick by a company testing security procedures.

There were hundreds of people waiting to collect their bags - we waited for about an hour
Ashley Wadeson

The National Air Traffic Services said restrictions on flights imposed during the alert had been lifted.

A spokeswoman said: "There will be some delays to passengers but it is hoped that services will be back to normal soon."

Roads closed during the alert have been reopened, but Greater Manchester Police have advised people to allow extra time for their journey to the airport.

Ashley Wadeson, 19, from Leigh, was among those affected.

Mr Wadeson, who had just arrived on a nine-hour flight from Calgary, said: "There were hundreds of people waiting to collect their bags.

"We waited for about an hour. Nobody told us anything."

See the scene of the controlled explosion

Police criticised over bomb joke
01 Aug 06 |  Manchester

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