Wimbledon 2014: Tennis fans banned from bringing Thermos flasks to tournament 'over fears of terror attack'

‘Disaster’ for tea-loving spectators – who will now have to pay £2.10 a cup

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The Independent Online

Tennis fans hoping to enjoy the quintessentially British experience of drinking tea at Wimbledon have been warned not to try and bring in Thermos flasks – for “security reasons”.

Thousands of people bring their own hot drinks to the tournament every year because those sold inside the All England Club are prohibitively expensive - £2.10 for a cup of tea and £2.30 for a coffee.

But spectators this year are being prevented from bringing flasks into the grounds by G4S guards at the gates, with angry fans reporting that they had to choose between paying £5 for left luggage facilities or watch them being thrown away.

One guard reportedly told a would-be flask-bearer that the rules, first brought in last year, were now being rigorously enforced in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured 176.

Those attacks, on 15 April, saw a pressure cooker used as an explosive device, and it has been claimed that vacuum flasks could potentially be used to similar effect.

Guards also reportedly said the flasks could be used as “weapons” or thrown at players – though there are no rules preventing fans bringing in bottles of wine, full cans or hard plastic water bottles.

The clampdown has led to outrage among spectators, with the author Caroline Fiennes telling the Telegraph she had been made to check her flask in at the car park.

She described it as a “disaster” and said she had “always thought it rather delightful that one can take in food and drink, adding: “Of course Brits want to bring tea.”

A tweet on the tournament's Twitter account told people planning a trip to SW19 to check the list of prohibited items, which includes coolboxes and camping chairs, adding: “Don't bring a Thermos.”

And a Wimbledon official said: “Thermos flasks are banned for security reasons. They are big and bulky and they are hard-sided. This is not new.”

Spectators are allowed to bring alcohol into the venue but it is “limited to the equivalent of one bottle of wine or two 500ml cans of beer per person”.

There are 300,000 cups of tea and coffee consumed during Wimbledon fortnight, according to the Grand Slam's website – presumably costing fans more than £600,000.