London - A passenger was warned he could have been shot by armed police after he tried to board a plane with a mobile phone case shaped like a handgun.
Security staff at Stansted airport in Essex stopped the man when they discovered the iPhone holder in his luggage.
Afterwards, they told him he had put himself at risk of being shot by police officers, who could have mistaken him for a terrorist.
Essex Police posted images of the phone case on social media, including one showing it sticking out of a pocket to demonstrate how realistic it is. A caption next to the photo said: “You have a split-second decision to make...what would you do?”
They also wrote: “Bringing this to an airport makes it much less likely you’ll catch your plane. Don’t be daft.” Members of the public pointed out how reckless the unnamed man had been.
Roy Connel tweeted: “I’ve seen some daft things in my time at Stansted but that’s just pure stupidity.” Another man commented online: “Proof – if any were needed – that the moron gene is in good health.”
It was not clear whether the passenger had been allowed to catch his flight, but officers based at the airport said he could face charges relating to a public order offence or possessing an imitation firearm.
Concerns about similar iPhone cases surfaced last year in the US, where critics warned they were potential “deathtraps”. And checks by the Daily Mail revealed similar models were on sale on Amazon for under £10 (about R200), although a spokesperson for the website insisted the product was “no longer available”.
An Essex Police spokesperson said: “Security staff dealt with this in a routine screening of carry-on bags. Travellers are asked to consider the types of item they bring to the airport as they could lead to extra security checks and police involvement.”