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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 December 2007, 15:22 GMT
Bang goes soldiers' cracker fun
Christmas cracker (generic)
The crackers have now had their "snap" removed
Hundreds of crackers due to be sent to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan had to be defused after it was discovered they were classed as explosives.

Major Iain Dalziel-Job, 60, of the Scots Guards Association, learned of the regulation as he prepared to send 650 Christmas parcels to the soldiers.

The British Forces Post Office website defines Christmas cracker snaps as explosives, banned on RAF aircraft.

There are no such rules for passenger aeroplanes.

Major Dalziel-Job, from Rosyth, had arranged for the festive packages to be taken by truck from Edinburgh to London on Tuesday before being handed over to the BFPO and then flown out from Brize Norton.

Large numbers of Christmas crackers are classified as dangerous air cargo and therefore require special handling
MoD spokesman

He told The Sunday Post newspaper: "Every cracker has got to have the snap taken out of it because the RAF won't fly them with the bit still in.

"It's quite tricky to get them out. It took us two hours to go through them all.

"The soldiers will just have to go 'bang' themselves when they pull them."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman told the newspaper: "The safety of our aircraft and personnel is paramount.

"Large numbers of Christmas crackers are classified as dangerous air cargo and therefore require special handling."

Civil Aviation Authority rules, which govern passenger aircraft, state that Christmas crackers which are complete and in their retail packaging do not have sufficient explosive in the "snap" to be regarded as dangerous.

It is only when the "snaps" are transported on their own that they are treated as dangerous goods.

The Scots Guards Association had already had its plans to include alcohol miniatures in the packages scuppered due to alcohol being forbidden in Islamic countries.



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