Christmas Crackers


Army bomb disposal experts have been called in to defuse Christmas crackers.

Hundreds of packages sent from family and friends to soldiers serving abroad have had to be "disabled" because regulations class the snap strip in crackers as an explosive.

The bizarre rule was uncovered by Major Iain Dalzel-Job, of the Scots Guards Association as he organised to send 650 festive parcels to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His plan was for the troops to receive a cracker to pull with their turkey dinner on December 25. He arranged for the packages to be flown out of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire with the British Forces Post Office.

However, when he was looking in to the list of banned goods he discovered crackers up there on the list.

The novelty's snap is classified as an explosive-along with the likes of nitro-glycerine, fireworks and blasting caps and cannot be transported on RAF planes.

This meant Major Job's team packing the presents had to defuse each cracker.

He said: "It's quite tricky to get them out. It took us two hours to go through them all.

"The soldiers will just have to go 'bang' themselves when they pull them." A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, which operates BFPO, said the safety of aircraft and personnel was paramount.

He added: "Large numbers of Christmas crackers are classified as dangerous air cargo and therefore require special handling."

There are no such provisions under Civil Aviation Authority rules. Its guidelines state Christmas crackers, which are in their packaging can be safely transported.

The Scots Guards Association was further frustrated in its plans to send alcohol miniatures to the troops because alcohol is forbidden in Islamic countries.

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Perhaps it would be safer all round if they also took away the Army's guns in case they hurt someone.

Instead, they can give the wooden shaped guns, and they can shout 'Bang You're Dead'

- Roger, London

I do hope that when defusing the crackers they wore the correct bomb disposal gear and set up the proper 300m cordon. We wouldn't want the Health and Safety giving them grief as well!

My great aunt, when she's got a few sprouts inside her, now she can be classified as dangerous air cargo and therefore require special handling.

- Threaded, Roskilde, Denmark

So they are allowed to fly Nimrods with no problems involving fuel fumes adjacent to hot surfaces, but Christmas crackers are not allowed. That sounds very sensible ... not!

- Paul,

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