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Man tries to smuggle tortoises disguised as cakes into Berlin

The Independent logo The Independent 18/03/2019 Helen Coffey
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An attempt to smuggle three live tortoises in a pastry box into Berlin was thwarted by airport staff.

A 69-year-old passenger who’d flown into Schönefeld airport from Cairo tried to sneak through the “nothing to declare” section, but was stopped by security staff.

The tortoises were stowed inside a pastry box, with the shells clearly visible through the plastic packaging.

The man tried to pass off the animals as “edible”, saying they were chocolate tortoises designed to look realistic.

However, it quickly transpired these were in fact live Moroccan tortoises, officially an endangered species.

The amphibians were confiscated and are being looked after by the airport vet.

(Photos: The most bizarre things that people have tried to smuggle by StarsInsider)

If found guilty of animal trafficking, the man in question faces a fine of up to €50,000 or a five-year prison sentence.

It comes after The Independent reported that 1,529 exotic live turtles valued at more than £65,750 were found smuggled into the Philippines in a passenger’s luggage.

The reptiles were discovered by customs officials at Terminal 2 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

They had been packed in four suitcases and travelled the two-hour journey from Hong Kong on Philippine Airlines’ flight PR311.

The bags were abandoned at the airport and, when opened, contained a 1,500-strong collection of exotic and rare turtles.

The Customs NAIA team uploaded pictures of the turtles on Facebook, some which showed the animals bound with duct tape.

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