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Airline passenger sparks ‘explosive’ response

A passenger prompted a security alarm at the airport last week when items he was carrying in hold and cabin luggage set off explosive trace detectors, it was revealed yesterday

The incident turned out to be a false alarm, however, and it was determined that the suspect item and hold luggage had been very likely contaminated by a substance with which the passenger had been legitimately in contact with through his employment.

Nonetheless, the incident, which occurred shortly after 4pm on Friday August 12, saw Borders and Coastguard agents working together with Royal Gibraltar Police officers.

Borders and Coastguard agents were carrying out routine security screening with Explosive Trace Detectors when they identified what appeared to be a prohibited item.

The item was being carried as cabin baggage by a passenger. According to a joint press release, checks of the passenger’s hold luggage gave rise to similar concerns.

In accordance with established protocols the RGP was informed.

Following an investigation by RGP officers, which included consultation with subject matter experts, it was determined that the suspect item and hold luggage had been very likely contaminated by a substance with which the passenger had been legitimately in contact through his employment.

The passenger was later able to continue on his journey.

Commissioner of Police Eddie Yome said: “This is a good example of the close cooperation between officers of the BCA and the RGP. We have a great working relationship on both matters of immigration and of security. Both are essential in keeping Gibraltar and its community safe in today’s world.”

Chief Executive of the Borders and Coastguard Agency, Andrew Bonfante, echoed the Commissioner's comments on the excellent and close cooperation that exists between both organisations and highlighted the professionalism of his officers who undertake important duties at the airport which, because of the sensitive nature of them, all too often go unnoticed.