By DONNA MCCONNELL, SARAH BULL and JULIAN GAVAGHAN
Furious: Kim Kardashian accused BA of stealing a pair of sunglasses given her by her late father Robert, right, who served as the lawyer sensationally who helped clear OJ Simpson of murder
American reality TV star Kim Kardashian has sparked a new row over Heathrow baggage handlers after she accused British Airways workers of stealing 'irreplaceable' items from her luggage after a recent flight.
She says staff at the airport, which is already facing claims it will struggle to cope with the surge in passengers during the Olympics,may have taken several handbags and 'priceless' sunglasses she inherited from her late father.
The allegations spark new fears that security at Heathrow may be returning to the lax levels last seen in the 1980s when it was nicknamed Thiefrow due to its reputation for high rates of luggage theft. Supermodel Naomi Campbell also accused BA staff of stealing her possessions during the 2008 baggage debacle and claimed she was a 'martyr' after being arrested following a row at Terminal 5.
Miss Kardashian, whose father Robert was the lawyer who sensationally helped clear OJ Simpson of murder, arrived back in Los Angeles on Friday night after flying from Nice via Heathrow.
Allegations: Miss Kardashian arriving at Heathrow on May 16 to begin her nine-day European visit, left, and back in Los Angeles on Friday with her 'lighter' bags being pushed by a minder
She is said to have found that her luggage was significantly lighter than it had been on the way out.
On further inspection, she is reported to have discovered that the sunglasses, which Robert gave her before he died in 2003, were missing from her case.
U.S. website TMZ.com also claim that 'several extremely expensive purses and Tumi luggage' were missing.
Trial: A dry-run at Heathrow last week saw staff deal with an extra 3,000 bags an hour in preparation for the Olympics when it will deal with 600,000 extra visitors. Terminal 5 was blighted by bag problems after opening
Miss Kardashian had earlier written on her Twitter page: 'Very disappointed in British Airways for opening my luggage & taking some special items of mine! Some things are sentimental ¬ replaceable.
'What happened to the days when you could lock your bags! We need to get back to that. There's no sense of security & no trust! Shame on you(sic)'
The reality star, who is back in Los Angeles after a whistle-stop promotional tour of London, and then a week at the Cannes International Film Festival, is now said to have approached BA to look into the apparent theft by analysing CCTV footage.
She arrived at Heathrow on May 16, spent nine days travelling before returning home on May 25.
It is understood that she may take the matter to the police if the airline do not provide a satisfactory response.
British Airways, which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2009, is expecting to have one of its busiest summer ever as the main airliner carrying visitors to the Olympics.
Heathrow, which will handle 80 per cent of Games traffic, is - at peak traffic - expected to handle up to 50,000 extra bags a day as it deals with an additional 600,000 passengers during the course of the sporting spectacle.
Last week staff successfully carried out a dry run in practice for the Olympics when the processed 3,000 extra bags an hour.
Rant: Kim had earlier taken to her Twitter to comment on the missing items
But memories of the 2008 Terminal 5 baggage debacle - when thousands of passengers at BA's exclusive hub - were left waiting days to be reunited with their luggage have triggered fears of fresh chaos this summer.
Operations director Gareth Kirkwood and customer services director David Noyes were fired following the fiasco of its opening week.
The debacle grabbed extra headlines when in Miss Campbell assaulted two police officers at Heathrow after learning that one of her bags had not been loaded on to the plane.
Arrest: Naomi Campbell is escorted from Heathrow in 2008 after she assaulted two police officers when she learned that one of her bags was missing
She was sentenced to 200 hours' community service.
Regarding Miss Kardashian's allegeations, a spokesman for British Airways said: 'We are continuing to investigate this matter.
'Our customer travelled from Nice to Heathrow Terminal 5 to Los Angeles.
'Terminal 5 has some of the most sophisticated automated baggage systems in the world, which are able to monitor bags every minute of their time in the terminal.
'At this stage, we have discovered no evidence to suggest that the bag in question was interfered with at Heathrow.
'Our investigation is also seeking to establish details of the bag's passage through Nice and Los Angeles airports.'
Heathrow have been approached by Mail Online but are yet to comment.