Whilst most travellers like to buy souvenirs, an increasing number of holidaymakers are choosing to eschew the traditional straw donkeys, snow globes, and miniature Eiffel Towers, to bring something a little more unusual home for their grandmother – illegal weapons.
Following on from a recent arrest at Bristol Airport in November, in which a 20-year-old man was captured trying to smuggle ten weapons through security, police at Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster, have revealed that more than 100 different weapons have been taken from travellers at the South Yorkshire hub in 2010.
The “lethal haul,” to quote local newspaper, The Star, included items such as samurai swords, CS (or ‘tear’) gas canisters, imitation guns, and knuckledusters. The majority of the items originated in seven European resorts served by Robin Hood: notably, Prague in the Czech Republic, the Balearic Island of Ibiza, and Dalaman, Turkey.
Police say that the weapons were seized as part of a major crackdown on smuggling at Doncaster Airport. In one arrest, earlier this year, a mother and her son were collared trying to take 14 weapons through security. The pair had recently disembarked a flight from Bourgas, Bulgaria.
Despite this article’s rather facetious opening paragraph, many smugglers do regard the weapons as souvenirs, or so they claim. Liam Dimond, for example, the man arrested at Bristol Airport in November, told police that the stun gun and throwing stars in his suitcase were decorations, destined for his bedroom wall.
Speaking about the weapons seized at Doncaster, Andy Lumb, boss at the UK Border Agency in Yorkshire, said that knives and guns are not “holiday trinkets or souvenirs,” noting the potential for “serious injury or even death” to the culprit or his or her enemies. “Let this crackdown be a warning to potential smugglers,” Lumb said.