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Last Updated: Monday, 5 July, 2004, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
Weapons warning to holidaymakers
Samurai swords
More than 300 weapons were seized by customs officers last year
Scottish holidaymakers are being reminded by police not to bring potentially offensive weapons back into the country from overseas.

Hundreds of tourists attempt to bring back expensive ornamental swords, knives and knuckle-dusters every year.

Customs and Excise and Strathclyde Police launched a drive at Glasgow Airport on Monday to warn people that such souvenirs would be seized.

Customs officers in Scotland have seized 314 weapons in the past year.

Surely holidaymakers can find something else to spend their money on as a memento of their holidays?
Sergeant Kenny Brown
Sergeant Kenny Brown, deputy airport police commander, said there had been a surge in the popularity of 'fantasy' knives - decorative hunters' weapons based on a fantasy theme or a movie.

He said: "The rise in popularity may be on the back of the Lord of the Rings, where the bad guys have got knives because they haven't yet invented other ways of killing each other.

"These are very exotic, decorative knives, but at the same time are also very dangerous.

Flick knives

"We're committed to removing offensive weapons from society wherever possible and at the airport we're tapping it off at source.

"Surely holidaymakers can find something else to spend their money on as a memento of their holidays?"

Dave Clark, head of detection for customs in Scotland, said his team was also concerned about a rising number of people caught with knives and electric shock items.

"We have a concern over the increase in young males that we are finding trying to bring back flick knives that are disguised in items such as lighters and key-rings," he said.

"There is also a rising number of electric shock lighters and electric shock pens detected this year and, when added to the continuing stun-gun seizures, we are concerned at this growing trend."

'Designed to harm'

He warned the public that anyone caught trying to bring back offensive weapons would have their details passed to the police for intelligence purposes.

"There is no legitimate purpose to the vast majority of the weapons seized. They were only designed to harm a person," he added.

The 314 weapons seized by customs last year, included a gauge shotgun cartridge, death stars, hand claws and samurai swords, as well as toy, imitation and replica guns.

Last month during one night, Strathclyde Police seized eight swords from passengers returning from overseas.

On the same night, customs officers seized flick knives and other potentially dangerous objects, one of which was a 26-inch metal baton found in the luggage of a man returning from Spain.

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