An airport passenger is “absolutely furious” that CCTV cameras at Luton Airport were not able to identify thieves who stole his suitcase on Thursday.
Donal Ridout, (pictured) 55, from South Wales, was at the airport to fly to Northern Ireland and visit his sister, who has cerebral palsy and lives in a care home.
His suitcase was snatched from his side “in a split second”, but CCTV cameras only captured a vague outline of two figures taking the case, meaning police could not try to track down the offenders.
Mr Ridout said: “It’s disgusting. I think this is a very very serious issue. Maybe I should have glued myself to that suitcase but that’s not the point. In this present climate to have an airport with inadequate cameras is unbelievable. Heads should roll. This is about people’s safety. What if those people had been terrorists? They wouldn’t have a clue who they were.”
Mr Ridout lost his personal possessions, documents and 350 euros. He was unable to travel and had to return home.
He said: “I was devastated and my sister is gutted. She broke down at the weekend when she heard I wasn’t coming.”
A spokesperson for the airport vehemently denied there was any problem with their CCTV network and said it would be “impossible” to have every inch of the airport in focus on CCTV.
They said: “The area before security central search is a public space where passengers and the general public are repeatedly advised never to leave their baggage unattended. We take security and personal theft extremely seriously at London Luton and maintain a highly visible armed police and security presence, as well as an extensive CCTV network. However, these deterrents cannot replace the requirement for individuals to remain vigilant while safeguarding their personal belongings.”
Mr Ridout said he waited an hour for police and airport staff to view CCTV footage, and while police initially told him they were confident they could find the thieves in the building, they then realised they couldn’t make out any details on the CCTV footage.
Mr Ridout said: “What’s the point in having the police there ready to go if they can’t follow anything up? Those useless cameras didn’t even pick up what clothes they were wearing. The police did try their best but they failed because of lack of CCTV. The area was in departures, it’s exactly where you would plant a bomb. The policeman told me they had expressed concern about that area before.”
A Beds Police spokesperson confirmed that officers at the airport assisted a man reporting his luggage stolen on Thursday.
They said: “The officers viewed the airport CCTV and were unable to identify and locate the offender on this occasion.”