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Frenchman charged over security alert at Gatwick Airport

Published 15/11/2015

An area of Gatwick Airport's North Terminal was cordoned off
An area of Gatwick Airport's North Terminal was cordoned off

A Frenchman has been charged with possession of an air rifle and a knife, following a major security alert at Gatwick airport on Saturday.

Massive disruption was caused at the North Terminal following the incident at 9.30am on Saturday when Sussex Police were alerted to the "suspicious actions" of a 41-year-old man.

Jerome Chauris, from Vendome, is due to appear in court on Monday.

Sussex Police said: "Jerome Chauris, 41, unemployed and of no fixed address, but from Vendome, France, has been charged with possessing a dangerous article (an air rifle weapon) in any part of an aerodrome (Aviation Security Act 1982) and possessing a knife blade/sharp pointed article (a lock knife) in a public place (Criminal Justice Act 1988)."

A man was seen to discard an item in an airport bin in the "landside" area of the airport which precedes the security checks, according to police.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) specialist officers carried out a small controlled explosion and also recovered "what appears to be a firearm" which was removed for forensic examination.

Passengers and staff were allowed to return to the terminal about six hours after the alert, which forced police to evacuate the site, although the South Terminal remained operational throughout.

Detective Superintendent Nick May said on Saturday that the terror attacks in Paris had led to "heightened awareness around any such incident and it is best that we treat the matter in all seriousness".

Passengers were evacuated from the North Terminal in the rain and taken to nearby hotels.

Chauris is due to appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court.

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