An investigation has been launched after a man reached an airport departure lounge without a boarding pass.

The man, who is said to be of Turkish origin, was only stopped at Gatwick when he went to buy items from duty free.

Airport bosses told The Argus an investigation had been launched into the security breach.

However, they said there was “no risk” to passenger security and no suspect items were found.

Staff and security were alerted to the incident at around 8.20am yesterday morning.

The man, who was with his family, went through a full security search and screen before making it to the departure lounge.

A Gatwick spokesman confirmed the other members of his family all had boarding passes.

Once in the departure lounge the man is said to have approached duty free to buy items when he was asked to produce his boarding pass. When he could not, airport security was called.

Eyewitnesses reported of concern among worried passengers with some said to have rushed to leave on hearing about the incident.

It was also reported management and security were told not to say anything about the incident.

However, airport bosses played down the incident yesterday, claiming there was no danger to the public.

A spokesman said the man, who was travelling with his family, had incorrectly been allowed to access the departure lounge.

He added that he had gone through all security checks and nothing suspicious had been found.

It is not known if the man had a passport. However, the spokesman said if he had tried to board the plane, he would have been required to show both his passport and boarding pass.

In a statement, airport bosses said: “Earlier this morning a gentleman accompanying his family through the airport was incorrectly allowed access to the departure lounge without having a boarding pass.

"The incident is being investigated but all individuals correctly passed through the series of full security search and screen processes.”

No action was taken against the man and he was allowed to leave.