Felixstowe: Tiger claws found in haul of herbal medicines at Britain’s top port

HERBAL medicines containing ground tiger claws, poisonous plants and cow’s urine have been seized by Border Force at Felixstowe.

It is the first time smuggled ground tiger claws have been found in the UK – and they arrived just a week before World Tiger Day to highlight the plight of the rare and hunted animal.

The illegally imported products arrived at Felixstowe in a container from India and were destined for an address in Birmingham.

Large cockroaches were found running round the load that had fermented and exploded.

A Border Force officer examined the contents and found 45 cardboard boxes containing 1.9 kilos of ground tiger claws, Agarwood, orchids, cycads – tropical seed plants – goat’s meat, cow’s urine, prohibited poisonous plants and unlicensed medicines.

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The import and export of tiger derivatives is strictly controlled under the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and items can only be brought into or sent out of the EU if the correct permits have been applied for and issued.

As the UK is a signatory to CITES, details of the seizure will be referred to customs authorities in India who will decide whether to take further action against the exporter.

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Following the gruesome discovery on July 22, Border Force contacted the importer in Birmingham and warned them about the need to comply with CITES.

Lance Cruse, from Border Force at Felixstowe, said: “We are on the look-out for endangered species and products of animal origin.

“Unregulated imports can harm the survival of rare species as well as potentially bringing diseases into the UK.

“It is likely that the ground tiger claws would have come from tigers that were illegally poached.

“The illicit trade in animal products like tiger claws is a serious contributory factor to the threat of extinction faced by many endangered species. That is why the law around moving them is so strict.”

Border Force referred the unlicensed medicines in the load to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for possible enforcement action. A total of 15 unlicensed medicines were seized by the MHRA and stopped from being sold in the UK.

? Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call the Border Force hotline on 0800 59 5000.

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