1. ITV Report

Former police officer has gun necklace confiscated at Stansted

A former police officer had her gun necklace confiscated at airport security because passengers may think it was real.

Credit: SWNS

Claire Sharp, who used to work for special branch, had the piece of jewellery taken off her as she was travelling to Perugia in Italy from Stansted.

Credit: SWNS

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.

It is around an inch long and Claire wears it everyday in memory of her late husband who she described at the time as her "best friend".

Claire was travelling with her current husband, Lee, who is also a sergeant in the Met Police, and their 12-year-old daughter, Faye, when airport security staff told her she would not be able to take the necklace on the plane.

The 46-year-old was then told it could either be posted to her at her expense or kept by security until she returned three days later.

When she returned Claire was discovered she would be charged £8 for "lost property services" despite being told it would be free.

The mum-of-three says she has travelled through other airports in the UK, abroad and even Stansted in the past, and not had the gold pendant removed.

I was being searched by a 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 UK. I opted for the latter. However, when we returned, I was charged £8 to get it back.

– Claire Sharp

Claire, from Swanley, Kent, says the incident was even more traumatic because of the emotional attachment to the necklace.

Stansted apologised but said anything that could be mistaken for a weapon could not be taken on a plane.

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.

We understand that security is not one of the most pleasant parts of your journey, however for the safety of everyone, this is our top priority and all regulations must to be adhered to.

– Stansted statement

The CAA rules state "any item that resembles a firearm in any way, whether capable of firing a projectile or not, is prohibited" and cannot even be taken in cabin luggage.

A spokesman for the CAA confirmed it was up to the individual security officers' to decide whether to confiscate an object they deemed potentially dangerous.