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Zimbabwean egg smuggler jailed in the UK

An ex-member of the Rhodesian SAS who tried to smuggle rare eggs worth £70,000 to Dubai has been jailed for 30 months. Jeffrey Lendrum, 48, from Towcester, Northamptonshire, was caught with 14 peregrine falcon eggs that were placed in socks and taped to his body.

He has a history of egg trafficking in Zimbabwe and Canada, where he was filmed abseiling from a helicopter to steal rare eggs from the top of a tree. Lendrum, who also holds an Irish passport, was found guilty of taking the 14 falcon eggs from a nest in South Wales and trying to export them without a permit.

He was arrested at Birmingham International Airport, on May 3, after a cleaner spotted him acting suspiciously. Officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit found the eggs tied up in socks and taped to his chest.

At first he claimed they were chicken eggs he had bought at Waitrose, before trying to fool police by saying he used them to treat his bad back. Bred in captivity, the eggs can be bought for around £1,500 each, but are worth much more once hatched.

Eight chicks have been reintegrated to UK nesting sites

Lendrum, who has homes in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court on Wednesday. Eleven of the 14 eggs were successfully incubated and eight chicks have already been reintegrated to nesting sites around the UK. The remaining chicks are currently in a wild release programme.

The court heard there were only 1,400 breeding pairs of peregrine falcons in the UK and the birds were regarded as one of the most endangered species. Sky News Online

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