Australian border patrol today seized a teddy bear sent from Britain as a baby gift because it was deemed a threat to the commonwealth's national security.
Caroline Rothwell, 26, who has no links to Al-Qaeda, sent the bear in a baby shower parcel to her childhood best friend, Natalie Kinnard, in Perth. Border police in gloves and bulletproof vests seized the parcel and removed the bear. The rest of the presents were allowed through but the teddy was cordoned off and taken to a secure area.
The reason given for the seizure was that the bear appeared to have realistic fur and foreign animal products are not allowed Down Under. But customs officials admitted the underlying cause was the fear of terrorist activity. "The Taliban are too clever to send bombs or anthrax in plain brown parcels but something in plush with big appealing eyes is the ideal vehicle to knock us off our guard", our reporter was told. The bear was wearing a red Stoke City football jersey, which made it look extra suspicious.
A government spokesman said: "Australia has one of the strictest border policies in the world. Soft toys don't stand a chance against our highly skilled operatives."
The bear will remain a political prisoner until Miss Rothwell can come up with the £23 release fee.