Two little girls visiting their grandparents in Coverack were left “devastated” after their chocolate Easter eggs were destroyed during a security check at Bristol Airport.

Maya Marsland-Coniglione, five, together with her two-year-old sister Ocean had been staying with Tony Marsland and his wife on a visit with mum Natalie.

It was on their return home to Italy that the six eggs they had collected during an Easter hunt with their grandfather were damaged, when “heavy handed” security staff at the airport poked their fingers into the eggs during a search of the girls’ rucksacks.

Mr Marsland said: “I don’t know quite why it was decided small children would be a target for that kind of heavy handedness.

“The two small children’s backpacks, carried by my daughter, were put through the scanner and investigated more. It was then discovered after they had been handled that the eggs all had a thumb of finger put through them.

“I assume that was because they wanted to know what was in them. You’re talking about a two and a five-year-old – two kids, one still in nappies.”

The family was only carrying hand luggage, so could not put the eggs in the aeroplane’s hold.

Mr Marsland said he wanted to publicise the incident as a warning to other families, adding: “There’s going to be a lot of those eggs flying about over the continent over the next few weeks. I thought it was a bit of a warning that if you’re going to carry an egg it might well be broken.”

Jacqui Mills, PR manager for Bristol Airport, said the airport had apologised to the children and replaced the Easter eggs.

She added that an investigation into the attitude of the staff who dealt with the children was still ongoing.