Former Special Forces Soldier Caught Smuggling 14 Rare Falcon Eggs to Dubai
Attempt to smuggle 14 peregrine falcon eggs from UK to UAE resulted in 30 months jail sentence
An Irish businessman and former Special Forces soldier, Jeffrey Lendrum, 48, was arrested on Birmingham International Airport on May 3 this year, for trying to smuggle 14 rare peregrine falcon eggs. He has hidden the eggs in socks and strapped them to his chest to keep them warm. He was spotted by the cleaner at the airport as he behaved suspiciously in a business class lounge, while he was rushing in and out of the shower without using it.
He attempted to sneak the eggs out of Britain and get them in Dubai, as their price on the black market reaches almost 5,000 GBP (close to 11,000 USD) per piece, seeing that falconry is a national sport in the UAE.
He did not confess his crime at first. During the first contact with the police, he tried to make up a story about store-bought chicken eggs, which are used for treatment of a bad back. Regardless of his attempts, the evidence was far too obvious.
The police confirmed that the eggs were collected from a mountain in Wales by this former member of the Rhodesian SAS, most probably thanks to his military skills and the equipment he used, as the police found egg-hunting equipment, incubators, a GPS system and a golf-ball retriever in his property. They also found the climbing gear and an incubator in a car he parked in a long-term parking lot close to the Birmingham airport. Not surprisingly, it turns out this was not his only crime; he was previously convicted for similar offends in Canada and Zimbabwe.
Peregrine falcon is a protected species under the British law, and their export is forbidden without exception. It is estimated that there are around 1,402 breeding pairs of peregrine falcons in Britain. They can reach speeds over 320 km/h (200 mph) when they dive, which makes them one of the fastest species on the planet.
Jeffrey Lendrum was convicted to 30 months of prison in August 2010. Judge Christopher Hodson said that similar crimes, but this one in particular, did not only affect and harm protected species locally “but in some measure, the planet and its future”. Lendrum is the first person in last 19 years to be prosecuted in the UK for attempt to smuggle peregrine falcon eggs.
As for the 14 eggs, the police at the airport immediately made sure to keep them warm. Eleven of them have hatched, and were returned to their habitat in the mountains of Wels.
Last month, ‘The Lizard King‘ was sentenced in a Malaysian court for attempting to smuggle 95 live boa constrictors, two rhinoceros vipers and a Matamata turtle in a suitcasewhile earlier this summer, customs officials at Bangkok Airport,Thailand, arrested a woman en route to Iran after they discovered a heavily sedated tiger cub that was being smuggled in a bag of stuffed toys as a cover. X-Ray security revealed that one particular toy had a skeleton and a heartbeat.
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