SA bird egg smug­gler jailed in UK

Sunday Times - - News Conservation - By PHILANI NOMBEMBE

● A UK court jailed a ha­bit­ual South African wildlife smug­gler for three years this week af­ter he was ar­rested try­ing to en­ter the coun­try from SA with birds’ eggs strapped to his chest.

The court heard that Jef­frey Len­drum, who has South African and Ir­ish pass­ports, has wildlife trans­gres­sions span­ning decades, and some of the eggs he has smug­gled hatched in tran­sit.

He was ar­rested at Lon­don’s Heathrow Air­port in June 2018 “with eggs strapped to his body by a sling hid­den un­der­neath a heavy coat”, pros­e­cu­tors told Snares­brook Crown Court.

The eggs came from African fish ea­gles, black spar­row hawks, African hawk ea­gles and Cape vul­tures.

Len­drum pleaded guilty to con­tra­ven­ing the Cus­toms & Ex­cise Man­age­ment Act.

Prose­cu­tor Remi Ogun­fowora said: “We worked with our part­ners in the Na­tional Crime Agency to en­sure this pro­lific bird egg smug­gler faced ap­pro­pri­ate charges.”

Doc­u­ment­ing Len­drum’s life of wildlife crime, Out­side mag­a­zine in the US said he had gone as far as hir­ing he­li­copters to ac­cess rap­tors’ nests as far afield as Patag­o­nia, in Ar­gentina, and Que­bec, Canada.

When he was bust with 14 eggs at Birm­ing­ham Air­port in 2010, Len­drum told in­ves­ti­ga­tors they were from ducks and said his “phys­io­ther­a­pist had rec­om­mended that he wear the eggs pressed against his belly to force him to keep his mus­cles taut and strengthen his lower back”.

His ex­pla­na­tion did not fly and he later ad­mit­ted he had taken the eggs from cliffs in Wales. He said he was trans­port­ing them to his fa­ther’s home in Zim­babwe, via Dubai, as ad­di­tions to the fam­ily egg col­lec­tion. He was jailed for 30 months.

Len­drum’s con­vic­tions date back to 1984 in Zim­babwe, ac­cord­ing to the Mail On­line.

Pic­ture: David Jones/PA Im­ages via Getty Im­ages

Jef­frey Len­drum at War­wick Crown Court in 2010. He has now been jailed again.

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