A former police officer had her tiny gun necklace confiscated by airport security because it was “too dangerous” and passengers might think it was real and become “scared.”
Claire Sharp had the one-inch long piece of jewelry confiscated as she was travelling to Italy from London Stansted Airport on Friday.
The charm had sentimental value as it was a present from her husband Nigel Greenwood, who died suddenly in 2001, aged just 32 from a heart attack.
Traveling with her current husband, Lee, who is also a sergeant in the Met Police, and their 12-year-old daughter, Faye, Sharp was shocked when airport security staff told her she would not be able to take the necklace on the plane – and she was initially disbelieving when they told her the reason why.
She said: “I was being searched by a female security officer and she saw my necklace and said ‘this might be a problem’.
“She then called over a male officer who asked me to take it off so he could look at it.
“I explained it was just a charm, that it had been bought for me by my late husband and that it had been through airport security on loads of occasions – including Stansted – without issue.
“He then took it off to ask his supervisor and came back saying it would need to be confiscated as it was an imitation firearm.
“He said it could either be posted to me at a charge or kept at the airport until I returned to the U.K. I opted for the latter. However, when we returned, I was charged £8 to get it back.
“The lack of common sense displayed at Stansted was astounding. To be charged £8 for the privilege of their idiocy just added insult to injury.
Sharp says the incident was even more traumatic because of the emotional attachment to the necklace.
She added: “I was widowed in 2001, I woke up and found my 32-year-old husband dead in bed next to me. Which was traumatic. So jewellery I have from him is particularly important to me. I’m angry now but in the airport, it made me cry to have it confiscated.
“I was in special branch for seven years so I’m fully aware of how airport security works. My police sergeant husband just couldn’t believe what was happening.
“Last week I flew from Gatwick to Iceland wearing it, with no issue. I’d been to Moscow in November where they’re mad on security and they had no issue with my necklace.”
Stansted apologized but said anything that could be mistaken for a weapon could not be taken on a plane.
A spokesman said: “Apologies for the inconvenience caused. However, under CAA regulations any novelty items, replicas and imitation firearms capable of being mistaken for real weapons will be deemed unsuitable for carriage and reasonably would be confiscated at our security.