Confiscated Security Items
Airport security checks are a familiar part of air travel, and we've all come to accept them as a necessary precaution to keep our skies safe. We're all used to the usual restrictions on hand luggage, and the obvious items we shouldn't be taking on board (remember if you stick to the rules you’ll be through security faster), but some people still manage to surprise even the longest-serving security staff.
Here are ten of the more unusual items confiscated at security checks around the world...
1. Lipstick stun gun
A woman from Burlington, Vermont in the USA was stopped by security staff after suspicions were raised over a lipstick in her hand luggage. On closer inspection it was discovered that the lipstick was in fact a cleverly concealed 350,000 volt stun gun* . These lipstick security devices are also available in shocking 950,000 volt varieties!
2. Chameleon hat
In 2002 a young woman travelling from Dubai was stopped by security at Manchester Airport after noticing something rather suspicious about her hat** . It turns out that what appeared to be a decorative piece of headwear was actually a head scarf with her pet Chameleon perched atop! She was only rumbled by security when her fellow passengers noticed and started taking pictures. 'Hattie' as the Chameleon was known, was certainly not allowed to enter the country.
Another traveller returning from Dubai – this time to Melbourne, Australia – gave Customs Officials a surprise as they searched him. Not only was he carrying eggs, an eggplant and seeds, but bizarrely he had two pigeons wrapped in padded envelopes secured to each of his legs*** . The man had donned a pair of tights to keep the poor pigeons in place, but was luckily spotted. Australian quarantine laws are very strict, and carry hefty fines and prison terms for those caught breaking them.
In 2010, two women from Manchester were caught with the most unusual of banned items – a corpse. The pair were attempting to travel from Liverpool, UK to Berlin, Germany and were pushing their fellow passenger, Curt Jarant in a wheelchair when an airport worker suspected that the man might not be at all well. Mr Jarant was in fact dead, and the pair (Jarant's wife and stepdaughter) were accused of attempting to repatriate his body to Germany without declaring that he as actually dead.****
5. Tropical fish
In 2005, a woman travelling from Singapore was stopped at Melbourne airport in Australia, when security staff thought they could hear 'flipping sounds' coming from her waist*****. The strange sounds were coming from 51 tropical fish in plastic bags placed in the pockets of a specially designed apron, concealed under her skirt.
A Norwegian man was stopped at Kristiansand, Norway, with a few small containers strapped to his legs using duct tape. The containers revealed twenty four geckos, of the albino leopard and royal python variety******.
Cheese smuggling is big business in the US, though Border Patrol staff stopped a man entering the States from Mexico in 2006 believing his truck was carrying drugs in suspicious packages. On closer inspection, the 'drugs' turned out to be large cheese wheels – far more than the man was allowed to bring into the country, and they were promptly confiscated. The illegal cheese market is booming, and it is estimated to generate millions of dollars a day.
8. Live snakes
Samuel L Jackson may have had his fair share of them, but there are plenty of people who try to bring snakes on a plane. In 2005, a woman travelling to Stockholm, Sweden was arrested after being seen to act suspiciously, and was scratching her chest. Customs Officials searched her to find she had concealed 75 baby snakes in her bra!*******
9. Egyptian Artefacts
In an incredible smuggling operation, Jonathan Tokeley-Parry from the UK was able to bring thousands of ancient artefacts out of Egypt by disguising them as worthless souvenirs . The so-called 'antiques restorer' would dip priceless sculptures in clear plastic, paint them in garish colours to resemble poor reproductions, and fly them back to the UK. Once smuggled out of Egypt, the plastic could be removed and the item sold on using an elaborate illegal art-dealing ring.
10. Birds and monkeys in clothes
At Los Angeles LAX airport in 2002, Customs Officials were inspecting the bag of a man who had just arrived from Thailand, when a bird of paradise flew out. The bag contained three more exotic birds hidden in nylon stockings, and 50 rare orchids. When quizzed by airport staff if he was hiding anything else, the man replied “I've got monkeys in my underpants” – he was indeed trying to smuggle two pygmy monkeys in his underwear!*********