Fake bomb on plane from Britain
Published 30/03/2011 | 14:02
A fake bomb was carried on board a cargo plane from Britain, exposing security lapses five months after two real bombs which were found on cargo planes in Leicestershire and Dubai last year.
The hoax device evaded detection after it was delivered to UPS in Camden, North London two weeks ago.
It consisted of a wedding cake box with a timer, wires and a detonator, but was not discovered until the cargo plane arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, ITV News reported.
Cargo screening procedures across the world are supposed to have been tightened since the incident in which two bombs disguised as printers were sent to the US by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP) based in Yemen last October.
Much air cargo travels on passenger planes, increasing the risks from poor security.
A spokesman at Britain's Department for Transport said they were aware of the incident and took it very seriously.
“We have already begun an investigation which will look at all aspects of this incident, including UPS’s procedures,” the spokesman said.
“The UK has one of the toughest security regimes for air cargo in the world. All security measures are subject to continuous review.”
UPS said: "Two weeks ago, a suspicious package travelled in the UPS network aboard an all-cargo aircraft from the United Kingdom to Istanbul, Turkey.
“UPS is cooperating with the British Department for Transport’s investigation of the incident. “
The company said it had a “multi-layered approach” to ensure security and that procedures were designed to protect staff,aircraft and customers’ shipments.
In a report due out on Wednesday, Tobias Feakin of the Royal United Services Institute will say that more needs to be done to improve airline security.
The report says: “Something that terrorists have consistently demonstrated is an understanding of where these weakest links exist and an ability to exploit them.
“It is vital that global efforts are supported to eradicate these weak links in the chain. There needs to be a more concerted focus on understanding and tackling inbound threats and building resources and security capacity in the countries of greatest concern.”
The Metropolitan Police said a 26-year-old man was arrested at his home address on March 23 on suspicion of making a bomb hoax.
He was taken to a north London police station and later bailed to return on a date in May.
The spokesman said the hoax was not related to terrorism and added: “A search was undertaken at an address in north London in connection with this inquiry and is now complete.”