A Russian and Lithuanian-speaking court interpreter was pounced upon by security guards at Canterbury Magistrates' Court who thought he posed a security threat only to discover the alert was caused by a butter knife in the man's lunchbox.

Saulius Cajaukas is thought to have been on his way to a case and had just entered the Kent court when security went through his bag. But the discovery of the knife, as well as other pieces of cutlery, prompted fears he was smuggling weapons into the court.

He has since complained about his treatment, Kent Online reported and HM Courts & Tribunals Service said it received notice of the incident in December last year.

"We are in the process of responding to a complaint about the way security contractors handled the confiscation of a knife from an individual attending Canterbury Magistrates' Court. It would be inappropriate to comment further while investigations are ongoing," a spokeswoman said.

Knives, tools and alcohol are some of the items most commonly seized at UK courts. Cameras and mobile phones, while not carrying the threat of causing immediate harm, have been taken away from owners under Contempt of Court rules.