Sunday 15 December 2019

Five live crabs found in suitcase at Belfast airport

Five live crabs have been found inside a Chinese woman's suitcase at Belfast International Airport.

She was stopped by UK Border Agency customs officers at Aldergrove.

The crabs, which were in a very poor state of health, had been individually wrapped in tea towels and black bin bags before being concealed amongst personal items in the suitcase.

The luggage was placed in the hold of the aircraft for the duration of a flight from China.

The crabs, which were handed over to an official from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) a week ago, later died.

Maggie Eyden, UK Border Agency Assistant Director for Northern Ireland, said: "Certain goods are restricted or banned completely from entering the UK, even if you are travelling from within the European Union.

"These include live animals, endangered species of plants and animals, including souvenirs made from endangered species, certain fur skins and articles made from fur skin. Travellers should be aware that if such items are found by our officers they will be seized and people could face substantial fines."

The UKBA works closely with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in the North to tackle illegal imports of prohibited and restricted animal products.

Lindsay Best, from the Department of Agriculture, said: "While the detection of illegal food and plant imports into Northern Ireland remains the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, a close working relationship exists between DARD Portal Inspectors and the UK Border Agency.

"Random and targeted inspections are carried out on flights arriving at Northern Ireland's airports aimed at preventing the entry of diseases which may be harmful to both animal and public health."

PA Media

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