Britain's border agency apologized Wednesday for an e-mail that was sent to customs officers at London's Heathrow Airport advising them not to search potential drug smugglers over the busy holiday season.
The agency said the message, which reportedly asked airport staff not to "actively seek to identify any passenger with internal concealments" in the three days up to Christmas, should never have been sent.
Britain's Sun newspaper printed the e-mail, saying it was sent because of a lack of staff at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport.
Jonathan Sedgwick, deputy chief executive of the U.K. Border Agency, said the e-mail did not represent the agency's policy and that a review must take place to find out how the message was sent.
"Our drug enforcement teams have worked tirelessly over the Christmas period and have successfully intercepted several shipments of class A drugs," Sedgwick said in a statement.