Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Clown strip searched at airport

A fully-dressed clown was left stunned after being strip searched by airport security.

Children's entertainer David Vaughan, 60, was dressed as Pc Konk, complete with huge floppy shoes, a policeman's helmet and face paint, when he was taken aside by security staff at Birmingham International Airport.

Mr Vaughan had been booked by Variety Club Midlands to entertain 100 disadvantaged children on a plane as it circled the region on a one-hour Christmas charity flight.

But a piece of metal on his costume set off the security alarm, prompting security guards to confiscate his plastic handcuffs and order him to strip down to his shorts and T-shirt.

Staff also demanded he put his bubble mix liquid, to be used to blow bubbles from a plastic saxophone, into a clear sealed plastic bag.

Mr Vaughan, from Shard End, Birmingham, said: "I'd made sure I'd bought plastic handcuffs and a plastic whistle but I hadn't realised that the costume had a metal band - I thought it was plastic.

"They took me to the customs office, I took off the costume and they put it through the X-ray machine.

"That was fine and I put it back on. Then they confiscated my handcuffs, which were plastic."

Mr Vaughan was finally allowed to board the Thomas Cook-sponsored plane, which took off from Birmingham and returned an hour later.

He said: "Don't get me wrong, they were only doing their job. The funny part about it was that we were not going anywhere.

"But at the end of the day, the children got great pleasure out of it - it was to make the children have a nice day and have a laugh, which we did."

A spokesman for Birmingham Airport said: "Pc Konk certainly did a great job of keeping everyone at the airport entertained.

"However, he was required to give in his handcuffs at security in line with national security regulations.

"Pc Konk then passed speedily through before getting on with the important job of putting smiles on the faces of the Variety Club children, who all enjoyed a day to remember here at the airport."

The incident happened last Tuesday, Mr Vaughan said.

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