Security Fears over Raid at G8 Airport

Police are investigating a raid by robbers at the airport where world leaders will arrive for the G8 summit.

A leading security expert has expressed concern that three masked men were able to walk into the cargo unit at Prestwick airport, threaten a member of staff with a knife and escape with computer equipment worth a six-figure sum, just weeks before the US president, George Bush, and other leaders fly in.

The raid happened shortly before 11am on Sunday when the robbers held up a 36-year-old security guard at the freight facility and then made off in a van with the computer components.

Strathclyde police said the member of staff was uninjured. No description of the suspects is available. Officers were yesterday studying CCTV footage from the cargo unit.

Prestwick airport in Ayrshire was chosen as the G8 airport because it was considered easier to police than Edinburgh or Glasgow airports. Up to 3,000 police officers will guard the facility's 14-mile perimeter when the world leaders arrive for the Gleneagles summit, which starts on July 6.

Security and terrorism expert David Capitanchik said: "I would have thought that security would have been particularly tight around there. It is less than four weeks until they all arrive. I think it is worrying, no doubt about it . . . it appeared to be relatively easy."

Airport officials said the raid happened in the freight depot which is a public area and open 24 hours a day. Prestwick is Scotland's busiest freight airport handling some 35,000 tonnes of freight a year. "This was an ugly robbery totally unconnected to our G8 security arrangements," said airport manager Steven Fitzgerald.