Couple says bag locks cut by staff in transit

A TAMWORTH couple are the latest to come forward with claims of baggage tampering by Qantas groundstaff.

As controversy mounts over handling of passenger luggage at Sydney airport – including last week's notorious camel head incident – Robert and Cindy Davidson say the locks they thought would keep their luggage safe from sinister hands were cut while they were in transit from Tamworth to Melbourne.

Convinced it was the work of Qantas baggage handlers, they contacted The Leader, prompted by other claims aired in the wake of the Schapelle Corby case.

Mrs Davidson said they were puzzled but not overly concerned when they first saw their bags had been tampered with, but in light of recent scandals had grown suspicious.

"At first we laughed it off, but with the Corby girl in so much trouble, and the baggage handlers who fiddled with David Cox's camel suit, we now think it could have been much more serious," Mrs Davidson said.

But husband Robert said he was only thankful the incident had not led to anything more disastrous.

"It made me think, poor Schapelle Corby. It just goes to show that anyone can be targeted in the same way, whether it is drugs or bombs that is put in your baggage," Mr Davidson said.

The bags were each fastened shut with a small padlock, which would have needed a boltcutter to remove them.

Mr and Mrs Davidson believe it must have been Qantas staff who tampered with their luggage, during their journey in January.

Mr Davidson said he would have understood had Qantas staff notified him they had searched his luggage, but the fact the intrusion was never explained left him very

concerned.

"I can understand that airlines are walking on eggshells at the moment with terrorism and bombs in suitcases and the like, but where do they draw the line?" he said.

"This just shows that tampering with peoples luggage is a widespread business with baggage handlers. It is incredibly worrying."

Qantas staff were unavailable for comment when contacted by The Leader.

However, the airline announced yesterday it would be installing surveillance cameras in baggage handling areas of terminals across the country, as well as in the holds of some planes.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said the airline would also increase loss prevention measures, including increased inspections of staff entering and leaving the workplace.

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