Luggage thefts - more than 20 held

MORE than 20 workers at Stansted Airport have been arrested in connection with thefts from passengers' luggage, it has emerged.The baggage handlers were detained as part of Operation Bruno, aimed at cutting down on items going missing from bags and cases after they had been checked in at the Essex terminal.

MORE than 20 workers at Stansted Airport have been arrested in connection with thefts from passengers' luggage, it has emerged.

The baggage handlers were detained as part of Operation Bruno, aimed at cutting down on items going missing from bags and cases after they had been checked in at the Essex terminal.

Detective Sergeant Vic Murphy, of Stansted Airport CID, confirmed that 22 baggage handlers at Stansted had been arrested in the recent police operation.

And he added that airport detectives did not know the true amount of theft from baggage because, unlike many other reported thefts, it is not always necessary to inform the police in order to claim on insurance.


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Passengers instead usually complete a “world tracer form” for their airline, which is normally enough to support an insurance claim, but the theft often goes unreported to law enforcement agencies.

Stolen items have included cameras, I-pods, mobile phones, jewellery, and cigarettes.

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Det Sgt Murphy said thieves usually took “pot luck” with which cases to open, but that some items - such as cartons of cigarettes - could be felt through soft cases.

And he warned travellers that even when zipped cases were padlocked shut a thief could still get into them easily and quickly.

Det Sgt Murphy said: “Breaking into a bag is simple and can be done whether it's got a padlock on it or not.

“Anyone armed with something as simple as a pen can break into any zipped baggage in seconds.”

Police at Stansted have now put up posters encouraging staff to pass on information if they know someone who is stealing from luggage.

When asked about Det Sgt Murphy's remarks on workers breaking into suitcases, a spokesman for Servisair, one of the baggage handling firms that operates at Stansted, said: “That's his opinion, so I'll leave it to him.”

He added that none of the 22 baggage handlers arrested had been working for Servisair.

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