Britain is to protest to Colonel Gaddafi's government in Libya after a consignment of scud missiles, destined for Libya, was seized at Gatwick airport. A spokesman for Britain's Customs and Excise said last night that parts for the weapons, capable of carrying chemical or biological warheads, were found at Gatwick on November 24. The parts was discovered after arriving on a flight bound for Tripoli via Malta.

The spokesman said the investigation was continuing and no further details would be released however newspapers report claim that 32 crates of missile parts disguised as automotive spares were discovered in the operation which involved the intelligence services. The Sunday Times claims that paperwork was also found indicating other consignments had already reached Libya through Britain.

Britain restored diplomatic ties with Libya in July after a 15-year break following the shooting of a police constable outside the country's embassy in London in 1984. Trade sanctions and authorised the renewal of commercial flights after assurances from Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi that he had renounced terrorism and military aggression.