Major holes in the security of the air cargo industry, which could potentially threaten the lives of passengers, have been revealed in a BBC investigation.
It found cargo on passenger flights is being sent without being subjected to checks or X-rays.
The security gaps emerged following a court case over drug smugglers.
Under a system called “known shipper” or “known consignor” companies which have been security vetted by government appointed agents can send parcels by air, which do not have to be subjected to any further security checks.
“There are approx 1.5 million known shippers in the US. There are thousands of freight forwarders. Anywhere down the line packages can be intercepted at these organisations,” he said.
“Even reliable respectable organisations, you really don’t know who is in the warehouse, who is tampering with packages, putting parcels together.”
In June this year a Nigerian student called Olumwaseum Adeyemi was sentenced to 11 years at Kingston Crown Court for importing cocaine into the UK.
Mr Adeyemi brought pounds of cocaine into Britain unchecked by air cargo, transported from the US by the Federal Express courier company. He did not have to pay the postage.
This was made possible because he managed to illegally buy the confidential Fed Ex account numbers of reputable and security cleared companies from a former employee.
An accomplice in the US was able to put the account numbers on drugs parcels which, as they appeared to have been sent by known shippers, arrived unchecked at Stansted Airport.
When police later contacted the companies whose accounts and security clearance had been so abused they discovered they had suspected nothing.
Meanwhile you cannot take a bottle of water with you when you fly.
Do you feel safer yet?