Two young schoolboys recently sparked a bomb scare after smuggling First World War artillery shells on a flight from London to Chicago as a souvenir from their school trip. Airport chiefs at Heathrow Airport were criticised yesterday after it turned out that the munitions, which had been hidden in suitcases, were not caught on the scanners and were allowed through.
It was only when the flight had reached Chicago that security workers at Chicago O’Hare International Airport spotted the shells as the luggage was being scanned, which led to a huge security alert. If they were found to have been live, the shells could have caused a devastating explosion.
The shells, which were found to have been French and dating back to the First World War, were confiscated from the students, who were allowed home after being held for a briefing in the airport. A spokesman for Heathrow Airport claimed that their scanners were so advanced that they could detect that the shells were not live, and therefore posed no danger. United Airlines, however, does not allow any form of war munitions to be carried on the plane, whether they are live or not.