A 41 year old French man has been arrested by police after a suspected firearm was found, resulting in an evacuation of a Gatwick Airport terminal, just hours after terrorist attacks in Paris claimed the lives of 127 people.
“Police were called at around 9.30am following suspicious actions by a man who discarded an item in a bin at the airport. Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialists were called to the airport to investigate the item and carried out a small controlled explosion.
“Personal items and what appears to be a firearm were recovered and have been removed for forensic examination. However, the viability of the weapon has yet to be established.
“A 41-year-old man from Vendôme in France was arrested at the scene at the time of the report on suspicion of firearms offences. He was ‘landside’ at the airport and had not checked in or passed through any passport or security checks.” – Sussex Police
During the incident, passengers were reportedly told to stay away from glass windows and pictures from those at the scene showed large crowds waiting outside in the rain.
The easyJet queues as Gatwick reopens!!! pic.twitter.com/i8Stx9hAYv
— Tim Unwin (@TimUnwin) November 14, 2015
The terminal has now reopened but the disruption has caused delays to travellers throughout the day. Travellers are being advised to check with their airline with delays and cancellations likely.
“Following a full and thorough search by the police, we are now able to re-open our North Terminal to passengers.
“Passengers should check with their airlines for information about their journey.
“Our priority is always the safety and welfare of our passengers and extra Gatwick staff are on hand to assist those who have experienced significant disruption to their journey today.
“We are working with our airlines to return North Terminal to usual operations. South Terminal is operating as normal.” – Gatwick Airport spokesman
Rumours had circulated that the man was caught with a grenade or gun in his bag and according to a report on Twitter, a poster claimed he heard armed police shout “get down, get down” during the alleged altercation.
Following the incident today and the attacks in Paris last night, British police have said they will step up checks at UK borders and ports as well as major public events in the wake of the tragedy.