Airport News

'Tortoise smugglers' nabbed at Stansted

Mon, 20 Jul, 2009

Police at Stansted airport have arrested a man and a woman after finding seven tortoises in their luggage.

A 41-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman were arrested after police were given a tip-off that they were attempting to smuggle endangered species into the country.

Police allegedly found three tortoises in the pair's hand luggage and a further four wrapped in socks in their suitcase.

After a police raid, more illegal wildlife was discovered at the duo's home in London.

Essex Police Force's wildlife crime co-ordinator Andy Long said: "You can tell when an animal is unhappy just by looking at it and that one looked miserable.

"When tortoises are smuggled in this way they suffer quite a lot and it would not be unusual for them to deteriorate and die."

The animals are said to be worth between £50 and £100 on the black market and the couple are now being questioned by police.

Joe Evans

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