Border officials unveil unusual airport finds

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BORDER officials have released a list of some of the bizarre items people have tried to smuggle through airports.

Carpets, confectionery and a chapatti oven are just some of the ways organised crime gangs tried to smuggle drugs into the country.

Nine grey Francolin birds were discovered at Leeds Bradford Airport as passengers on flights from Islamabad made two attempts to smuggle the birds inside suitcases. The first seizure was made when officers found four of the birds concealed inside a suitcase and the second was made days later when five birds were hidden.

Two male passengers flying from Lithuania were also stopped at Leeds Bradford Airport when officers became suspicious of their bulky and ill-fitting jackets. The men were carrying almost 30,000 cigarettes including thousands concealed in specially adapted waistcoats.

Border force director general Sir Charles Montgomery said: “Smugglers are trying increasingly sophisticated methods and we need to stay one step ahead.

“Fortunately our officers have seen virtually every trick in the book.”

Among the other finds, two women flying from the Bahamas were stopped at Heathrow with 13 endangered iguanas stuffed into socks and hidden in their suitcase.

Twelve survived the journey but one died in transit.

A Nelson Mandela portrait seized at Manchester Airport was found to contain 1,855 grammes of cocaine worth more than £380,000 in the back of the framed photograph.