A 9-year-old British girl got through Turkish customs security last month with a toy passport, bearing the picture of a unicorn instead of her own face.

Emily Harris was on a vacation with her family when they arrived at Turkey's Antalya airport on 28 May.

Emily's mother handed over all the family members' passports at the security checkpoint and the agent, after stamping each of them, let them through.

It was only once the family got out of the airport that Emily's mother, 43-year-old Nicky from Cwmbran, South Wales, realised her mistake. She had accidentally given away her daughter's Design-A-Bear toy passport to the security.

"I didn't realise until I was putting the passports away," Nicky Harris told the South Wales Argus. "There was a moment of panic when I thought someone would come chasing after us, but nothing."

The passport says it belongs to Lilly Harris, a stuffed baby unicorn. It bears a large image of a stuffed unicorn and the description of the passport holder says, "Hair color: Purple" and "Eye color: Black."

"The passport doesn't even look real - it's got gold teddy bears on the front and was a completely different size from mine and my husband, Allen's," Nicky continued.

Emily said that though she and her family were amused by the incident, they realised it was also a matter of concern.

"It's a worry to any parent how easy it would be to smuggle a child through customs and into another country," Nicky said.

Security personnel at airports around the world are expected to cross-check passports and confirm passengers' identity and details before allowing them to enter their country.