A woman has revealed how security lapses at Faro airport allowed her to take a nine-inch bread knife on board a holiday jet. Helen Mallen, 43, had the knife with her hand luggage when she boarded an Exeter-bound plane in Faro. The incident follows a recent spate of security scares at the airport.
Earlier this year, Resident reader David Hillroy complained to security after an official, standing by the X-ray machines at the airport, appeared to be sending a text message on his mobile phone rather than inspecting passengers’ hand luggage. David told The Resident: “The official was clearly receiving a text message and then, even after I tried to get his attention, he just ignored me and replied to the text message.”Before that, Linda Hall had complained after she had inadvertently taken a knife through airport security and onto a flight to Heathrow without it being detected.
The most recent incident occurred when Helen purchased the novelty knife, which resembles a baguette when sheathed, during a 24-hour flight delay. It was in a clear plastic bag, which Helen placed on top of the luggage at the security checkpoint. She said the serrated blade was clearly visible, but she was able to carry it unchallenged past X-ray machines, metal detectors and guards on the 149-seat European Atlantic plane.
Mother of two Helen said: “It does make you very concerned. I didn’t want to do anything malicious with it, but if somebody wanted to, they could have done.” Contract cleaning boss Helen, of Bath, Somerset, was returning home after a week’s holiday in Portugal with her partner Simon and her children Paddy, 13, and Georgina, 10.
In response to the recent disturbing spate of security breaches, Faro Airport Director, António Mendes, has announced that he intends to give more training to the six individuals who control the inspection of hand luggage, in a bid to avoid similar lapses in future.
A spokesman from Faro Airport’s security department told The Resident: “We are not aware of what really happened regarding this particular incident. We feel that it is strange that someone arrives in a restricted area with a knife when she knows it is forbidden. Then she goes to England and informs a newspaper over there. We’re not saying that it didn’t happen, but neither are we saying that it did happen.”