A Frenchman has been arrested after a suspected firearm was found at Gatwick Airport. The 41-year-old, from Vendome, was detained after he discarded an item in a bin at the North Terminal, thought to be a firearm.
At 09:30 GMT the airport's North Terminal was evacuated and remained closed on the landside, before passport control, for six hours as a precaution as a bomb squad experts carried out a small controlled explosion. The terminal was reopened at 4pm.
Police confirmed that a suspected firearm was found, but the authenticity of the weapon has yet to be established. The arrested man is being questioned on suspicion of firearms offences. Police have stressed there is no confirmation of a link with the Paris attacks.
Detective Superintendent Nick May said: "The man is being interviewed as we try to determine the circumstances of the incident, but at this time it is too early to say what his intentions, if any, were. However, given the events in Paris on Friday evening, there is heightened awareness around any such incident and it is best that we treat the matter in all seriousness.
"We are aware that there is concern about what has happened in France, but the general threat level remains the same and people should be aware as usual of anyone acting suspiciously and report any concerns immediately," he added.
Flights were subject to delays and easyJet flights were stopped from taking off, as people were told to go home and rebook and passengers were taken to nearby hotels.
Gatwick Airport officials said extra staff were on hand to assist those who had experienced significant disruption to their journey. A spokesman said: "Our airlines are now looking at what capacity they have to accommodate people who missed flights earlier in the day. Passenger welfare is out absolute priority," he added.
UK airports and ports remain on high alert following the Paris attacks that left 129 people dead and many more injured.
A Briton, who killed at the Bataclan Theatre has been named. Nick Alexander, 36, from Colchester, a merchandiser working with the band Eagles of Death Metal, who were playing at the concert hall at the time of the shooting.
As the death toll continues to rise British PM David Cameron earlier said "we must be prepared for a number of British casualties" from the atrocities. The Prime Minister has condemned the "brutal and callous murderers" behind the attacks in the French capital on Friday.
He said the UK terror threat level remains "severe", but said the Paris massacre will inevitably prompt a review of security measures.