A MUM has slammed airport security staff who confiscated her five-year-old’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys claiming they were “imitation weapons”.
Alfie Waine, who lives in Tingley with his mum Emma Hardy, was travelling to Dublin from Leeds Bradford International Airport to see his aunt when workers seized his Leonardo plastic sword and Raphael staff together with a silver light-up laser gun last Tuesday.
Miss Hardy, a customer service manager, claims airport security staff took the toys when her hand luggage was searched after airport scanners picked up a potted candle inside her bags. At first the 31-year-old thought airport security workers were joking.
She told the YEP: “The flight is not going to be held up by a five-year-old boy with a plastic sword – they need to assess the risk that they could pose.”
Alfie was taken through the security gates by another family member, while security seized the toys, which he had planned on playing with alongside his friends in Ireland. Miss Hardy was told that the items would be going to landfill rather than being recycled.
She said: “It’s that they have taken thembut from the environmental aspect it’s just a waste of £50 of toys when we are trying to reduce what goes to landfill.
“They just needs to think sensibly about this.”
She said the airport should consider setting up a facility for people to leave such items behind, so they can be collected after return flights, or simply sort through confiscated items and donate usable things, such as the toys, to charity.
But responding to the incident, airport staff said they were duty bound to confiscate any items which could be seen as a replica weapon.
Station manager, Omniserv’s Andrew Shaw said: “We are directed through legislation that anything that looks like or replicates a firearm or weapon must be confiscated. All passengers are given the option to take these items back to their car or post home.”
Mr Shaw added: “We confiscate a vast quantity of items and liquids in our daily operation and ultimately these items are disposed of by Leeds Bradford Airport.”
The airport’s website includes a list of items prohibited on flights.
As well as toy or replica guns, restricted items also include razor blades, disposable lighters, scissors with a bladed length of 6cm or over and safety pins. Snooker and pool cues, some umbrellas and household cutlery are also not allowed on planes.
A spokesman for GP Flair, suppliers of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys, said: “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Combat Set and Stealth Sword are incredibly popular toys with boys who love to act out Turtles inspired adventures. The Turtles range does not include toy guns. The toys are incredibly toy-like in the way they look and feel and cannot, in our opinion, be mistaken as real weapons.
“Airport rules and policies, however, are there for a reason and we would advise that any parent who has a little Ninja that wants to take his combat toys on a plane should check with the airport before travelling.”