'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.