Weapon amnesty is a success for Gatwick

Knives, pepper spray, and a dangerously powerful laser pen have been handed over to police, thanks to '˜amnesty bins' at Gatwick.

Monday, 11th July 2016, 1:41 pm
Updated Monday, 11th July 2016, 2:47 pm
PS Darren Taylor with a few of the weapons handed in at Gatwick

In January this year, police installed a large red bin in the south terminal, with a poster warning new arrivals who are about to go through customs about UK weapon laws.

PS Darren Taylor told the Obby that he came up with the idea as an efficient way to deal with tourists who would otherwise accidentally break the law.

“A lot of foreign nationals come from countries where things like pepper spray and knives are legal,” he said.

He pointed out that pepper spray, which is legal in many countries, is counted as a firearm in the UK.

“Because security’s so tight at Gatwick, they get picked up.

“They’re innocent tourists, but they’re carrying offensive weapons around with them whilst they’re in England.

“It really is a simple thing. It’s like an amnesty - it gives people the opportunity to dispose of these horrible things before they enter the country.

“The first bin was in the south terminal. It was very successful so we’ve now started one in the north terminal as well.

“It’s been running since January and we’ve had about 50 knives handed in.”

As well as the knives and pepper sprays, they have had one very powerful laser pen handed in.

“It’s not a weapon per se, but it’s so strong,” said PS Taylor. “In England the limit [for general sale] is one milliwatt, this had 2000 milliwatts.”

He added that a BA first officer had told him the laser pen was powerful enough to destroy someone’s eye.

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