Bomb-find parcel giant barred from air cargo screening

The parcel company at the centre of a UK bomb incident last year has been barred by the Government from screening air cargo at some UK sites for security reasons.

Confirmation of the UPS decision was made by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The DfT said: “The safety of the travelling public is paramount and our security regime is kept under constant review.

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“We can confirm that, following careful consideration, the department has restricted the number of sites in the UK at which UPS Ltd is permitted to screen air cargo until it has satisfied current security requirements. For obvious security reasons we will not comment on the details.”

New security measures affecting the transfer of cargo through the UK came into force at the beginning of November last year following the discovery at East Midlands Airport of an explosive device hidden in a printer cartridge on a UPS aircraft.

A device was also found on a plane in Dubai.

The bomb at East Midlands was removed by Leicestershire Police officers shortly after 3.30am on October 29 after a tip-off from Saudi intelligence.

It had travelled through a UPS hub at Cologne Airport before being detected in the UK after the tip-off.

It later emerged that the explosives discovered at East Midlands and in Dubai were at least 50 times more potent than what would be needed to blow a hole in an aircraft fuselage.

After last year’s incidents, Home Secretary Theresa May said the two bombs originated in Yemen and were believed to be the work of al-Qaida.

She announced that all flights containing unaccompanied freight from Somalia would be suspended. Unaccompanied air freight from Yemen had already been suspended earlier last year.

Also, ink cartridges of more than 500g were banned from hand baggage on flights departing from the UK and also on cargo flights unless they originated from a regular shipper with security arrangements approved by the DfT.