A father was left dumbfounded when his child’s tennis rackets were seized by airport security staff. Richard Chew, from Meanwood, West Yorkshire, packed two Dunlop child’s rackets in his hand luggage for a trip to Majorca before staff at Leeds Bradford Airport confiscated them, claiming that they could be used as weapons. The 46-year-old claims he was told that there was a chance that he could use them to knock a steward or stewardess unconscious with them.
The father of two said: “I support everything that’s done to make our skies safe but looking at the size and weight of what are little more than toys suggests that common sense flew out of the window that day. He added: “I was saddened on several fronts but managed to refrain from a John McEnroe-style outburst.” Richard was travelling with his nine-year-old stepson, Will, to visit the youngster’s mother Vicky, bask in the sun and play a few games of tennis.
But borders staff told him they would have to hand over the rackets or pay £40 to go back through security and get them on board but the flight was due to set off in minutes. Now Richard is appealing for the airport to stop destroying the hundreds of items it seizes every year and either auction them or donate them to charity. Richard said: “This would be a real positive force in trying to contribute some good back into the community as they must seize hundreds of items carried in good faith that don’t meet the baggage restrictions test.
“It seems a crying shame to me that these are ending up in landfill and are not being used for good.” He said that in Pennsylvania in the US in 2004, the airport there raised $120,000 in its first year from confiscated items auctioned off on ebay, which was then ploughed back into the community. A spokeswoman for Leeds Bradford Airport said: “Government legislation dictates what can and cannot be used as hand luggage. All UK airports are mandated to adhere to government legislation, compliance in this matter is frequently audited.”