A teenager brought an airport to a halt after sparking a bomb scare.
The 17-year-old student from Sussex was travelling with his family from Newquay in Cornwall to Gatwick airport when he made a remark about how his granddad, an 84-year-old retired doctor, should be the one being searched.
Security staff acted on the comment and the family were detained. To make matters worse, a swab sample of the granddad’s shoe – taken during the search – came back positive for peroxide, during the incident on Friday, December 28, at about 2.30pm.
After an extensive search it transpired the sample is likely to have been some residue bleach.
But the scare prompted all roads to the Cornish airport to be closed as a precaution.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Any suspicion we have that a passenger may endanger an aircraft or its passengers is taken very seriously.
“Security staff at the airport were extremely vigilant and we closed roads around the facility for a short time while the incident was going on.
“Any travellers should be well aware of their obligations as a passenger and offenders will be dealt with robustly.”
The suspect and his family were only allowed on their way once police were satisfied that they posed no risk to the public, and were obliged to buy replacement tickets from the airline which agreed to them flying.
The boy was handed an £80 fine for wasting police time.
It is not the first time someone from Sussex has been involved in a bomb hoax.
Mathew Davis, of Commonwealth Drive in Three Bridges, wrote a bomb threat on a British Airways jet’s toilet door mid-flight so he could “save the day”.
The 22-year-old crew member hoped the stunt would mean he would be |portrayed as a hero and get a promotion.
But instead it cost him his job and he was jailed for six months in August last year.
And in 2011, Harry Greer, from Crowborough, was jailed after he dialled 999 to report a hoax bomb in a railway tunnel.
Emergency services raced to the scene and searched for more than five hours, during which time rail services in East Sussex were severely delayed.
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Sunshine capital in top 10 for bargain breaks
- Bearded men urged to come clean for charity
- Twitchers prepare for three days’ birdwatching
- Wishing well raises £900 for two charities
- All hail the return of the Palace to our Pier's name