Surprise find of the creepy crawly kind in luggage at Gatwick Airport (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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Surprise find of the creepy crawly kind in luggage at Gatwick Airport
12:39pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in Local News
Border Force officers made a surprise discovery in luggage at Gatwick Airport recently – 94 kilos of dried caterpillars.
The highly unusual find was made after a 22-year-old man travelling from Burkina Faso in western Africa, via Istanbul in Turkey, was stopped at the South Terminal. When Border Force officers checked his luggage they discovered tens of thousands of dried caterpillars inside.
The surprising find was one of the largest of its kind ever made at the airport.
The dried caterpillars had been shrink-wrapped in cellophane and then packed into four hessian bags. The traveller claimed that they were for personal consumption and that they were to be used as food. But the insects were seized by Border Force because they breached controls on the importation of products of animal origin, designed to prevent disease entering the UK.
Following the find on February 23, the man was warned by officers about the restrictions on bringing dried insects into the country, and was told his snacks would be destroyed.
Ingrid Smith from Border Force, said: “This was an unusual seizure but the vigilance of our officers has stopped these dried insects from entering the UK, and possibly posing a risk to our food chain.”
Ms Smith added: “I would warn travellers not to attempt to bring any products of animal origin into the UK without a permit, as they may not have been inspected to appropriate standards and may contain diseases.”
Restrictions apply to products made from meat, dairy, fish, eggs and honey, as well as some fruit, vegetables and plants.
Border Force has a key role in combating illegal Products of Animal Origin (POAO) imports. The controls are designed to reduce the risk of disease flow into the UK through risk-based anti-smuggling controls at the border, taking account of the latest risk assessments from the Department of Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) veterinary experts. The border controls apply to passenger, freight and postal import traffic arriving at British points of entry from non-EU countries.
More details on what items can and cannot be brought into the UK can be found at the Border Force website at: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/customs-travel/customs/