A toddler was left distraught after jobsworth airport staff confiscated his Minion “Fart Blaster” – because it was deemed a SECURITY RISK.
Little Leo Fitzpatrick, three, was travelling home from a trip to see his mum’s family in Dublin when his Despicable Me toy showed up on the x-ray machine.
Officials asked his mum Daire, 25, to empty his backpack and revealed the plastic megaphone toy which makes loud fart noises when the trigger is pulled.
But the family, from Nottingham, were stunned when overzealous security officials said it posed a risk and had to be seized under rules governing replica weapons.
The youngster – who had only received the loud speaker as a present from his grandfather the day before – had to put on a brave face while his favourite toy was confiscated.
Yesterday baffled Daire, said: “He was devastated.
“He is very well behaved and very polite, and he said ‘of course’ and left it but he is very upset and doesn’t understand why he’s sharing his toy with the man.
“It was such a shame.
“If you look at it’s just ridiculous it could be considered a weapon. I mean, would you shake with fear if I pointed a Minions fart blaster at you?
“It just looks like a megaphone – it doesn’t look like a gun.
“I said to the man it can’t be construed as a weapon and he said ‘I know, but the button looks slightly trigger-like’.
“I was fuming at the time. I just had to say ‘I’m so sorry Leo’.”
Pregnant Daire, a stay-at-home mum, had spent three nights on holiday with her partner and Leo, visiting family in her native Dublin.
Leo was given the £25 blaster by his grandfather as a gift and his mum said she had “never seen him smile as much”.
She added: “He just chuckled and this gun was his life for the last 24 hours.
“He had become so attached to it and would really hysterically laugh when he pressed the button.”
On Saturday the family flew back through the city’s airport with Air Lingus on the 6.30am flight to Birmingham.
Travelling with just hand luggage, Leo put his Spiderman backpack through the scanners at security, and Daire could see officials pointing at the x-ray.
The mum – who used to work at the airport – explained what the object was to the official who ushered her and Leo to one side.
But she was amazed when the guard – who admitted his own child had the same toy – said he would have to confiscate it.
Daire led confused Leo away before the toy was confiscated, but said the toddler has been asking for the fart blaster.
Airport staff said they could keep it until 7pm that night, but the family had to board a flight home.
She said: “I thought he was going to just take it out and realise what it was and that would be that.
“But he said ‘I’m so sorry it’s got a trigger, it doesn’t even look like a toy gun, but because it has a trigger mechanism it is in writing that I have to take it.
“Even though the security officer admitted that his child has the same toy and he was fully aware of it’s function and the reality of it’s threat level, he said he was forced to take it away.
“It doesn’t in any way resemble a weapon.
“I understand strict airport regulations but can common sense or compassion not be employed? It was laughable.
“My father had seen him that trip for the first time in maybe six or seven months and had taken him to the toy shop to buy him the toy, which I think makes it worse.”
A spokeswoman for Dublin Airport said the family surrendered the item after it was spotted at security because replica guns are prohibited.
She said: “We do not seize or confiscate items that are prohibited through the passenger security screening area.
“If passengers are carrying prohibited items they must be surrendered in order to continue on their journey.
“While it is unfortunate the Minion toy had to be surrendered it is important to note the following:
“Safety of passengers and security compliance is a priority at Dublin Airport.
“1) We do not make up the security rules but we have to apply them.
“2) Toy/replica guns are on the prohibited list for security screening.
“3) We are subject to stringent audits on a regular basis, internally and by two external bodies on at national level the other at EU level to ensure compliance. We adopt a consistent approach so there is no confusion for passengers and our staff in the area.
“4) Had this been an auditor on a covert operation with the toy gun we would have failed the compliance test.
“While we apologised to the family for the inconvenience caused we did say that we would hold onto the Minion toy so the family can collect on return from their holiday.”