UK Daily Mail
Sunday, Dec 21, 2008
Airport security staff strip-searched a clown on his way onto a plane – because they thought he could’ve been a terrorist.
Children’s entertainer Dave Vaughan – aka PC Konk the clown – was frisked by security guards at Birmingham International Airport after setting off a security alarm, and was ordered by cops to strip down from his clown costume to shorts and tee-shirt.
Stunned PC Konk – who was wearing bright blue clown trousers, massive shoes and a flashing police helmet – was trying to board a flight for disadvantaged youngsters.
He had been booked by Variety Club Midlands to perform for children on the Search for Santa trip, which involves a one-hour round flight.
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Mr Vaughan, 60, from Shard End, Birmingham, who has been a children’s entertainer for 25 years, said: ‘I just couldn’t believe it when they told me to get undressed so they could search me and my belongings.
‘I showed them my police clown identity card, which had my picture next to the my credentials as a member of the Criminal Insane Department, but I don’t think that really helped!
‘My plastic scissors and camera got through fine, as did my funny glasses and bubble machine, but then they discovered my plastic toy handcuffs. I told them I had bought them from the Early Learning Centre especially for the trip but they still said they were a risk.
‘I suppose they have to be really safety-conscious nowadays, but I’ve never had this problem before when I’ve been to international clown conventions abroad.’
Security guards spent 10 minutes examining PC Konk’s outfit, including his clown shoes and bubbles. They eventually released Mr Vaughan when they discovered his costume featured a metal band which held up his pantaloons – the reason he set off the alarm.