Missile triggers US tiff

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A MISSILE exported from Britain to the US has been impounded after American authorities found it was not demilitarised, triggering some uncomfortable moments for the recipient and a tiff between customs authorities.

A weapons fan from California decided that the missile and its mobile Transport-Erector-Launcher would make an ideal addition to his collection, and ordered one from a small firm near London. The Czech SS1-C was sent by freighter to California, but when it was examin- ed by officials they claim it was not, as the documentation said, properly demilitarised.

The US Customs Service claimed the guidance system and engine were intact and only a warhead was missing. British Customs took a very different view, insisting the missile was deactivated and that nothing illegal had taken place. "It was a dud," said a spokesman.