SA bird egg smuggler jailed in UK
● 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.
Jeffrey Lendrum at Warwick Crown Court in 2010. He has now been jailed again.