Fears over security in Parliament as it is revealed visitors tried to smuggle swords, knuckle-dusters and even a meat cleaver into the building
At least five truncheons were found while two people brought in cannabis
Over 100 people had knives on them when entering Palace of Westminster
00:31 GMT, 31 December 2012
A meat cleaver, a catapult, and three swords were among hundreds of deadly weapons visitors have tried to smuggle into the Houses of Parliament, it has been revealed.
At least five truncheons and two sets of knuckle-dusters have also been confiscated at Westminster's entry checkpoints sine the start of 2008, according to a Freedom of Information request, as were two amounts of cannabis.
According to the data, no suspected explosive devices were uncovered at checkpoints and no real firearms, but three imitation guns were picked up – one in 2010, one in 2011 and one this year.
Tourist attraction: Around one million people a year, who are not staff members, pass through the doors of the Houses of Parliament
In 2010, a cosh and a meat cleaver were detected on the x-ray machines members of the public must pass through on their way to visit the House of Commons and House of Lords, although nothing more is known about the circumstances of any of the finds.
There were two captures of illegal drugs in the past four years – a small quantity of cannabis was found on a visitor in February 2010, and a similar incident took place in March 2011 at the main Cromwell Green entry point for visitors.
Last year, two sets of knuckle dusters and a catapult were found, and this year was even heavier in bizarre weapons with a sword and a medieval sabre both confiscated by officials.
Knife possession has remained high, with just 45 found in 2009, rising to 126 in 2010, 148 last year and 114 so far this year, according to figures for the past four years released yesterday in response to a Freedom of Information request.
Dangerous: In 2010, a meat cleaver was detected on the X-ray machines members of the public pass through on the way to visit the House of Commons and House of Lords
Previously released information for 2008 showed 148 knives were found, 48 cans of CS spray and several other items including a stun gun.
Around one million people a year, who are not staff members, come through the doors of the houses of parliament which operates airport-style security with a body scan and bag search.
Most visitors are tourists from the UK and overseas, but around 40,000 children come on school trips annually, as well as constituents meeting their MPs, official witnesses at select committees or guests to dinners and receptions.
As well as illegal items and weapons, other items confiscated by the police which may be returned to a visitor have in previous years included binoculars, sports equipment, nail clippers and padlocks, police helmets, hip flasks and plants.