The year up to April 2013 was a record year for endangered animal items seized in the UK border with more than 690 seizures, the Home Office announced.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said:
“Organised criminal gangs will smuggle anything if they think there is a profit to be made and animal products can be worth millions of pounds on the black market.
“The fact that this trade is contributing to the threat of extinction faced by many endangered species is of no interest to these ruthless traffickers.
“Border Force’s specialist officers are world renowned for their excellence in identifying and preventing the trade of illegal animal and plant material.
“Officers are working tirelessly with partners in the National Crime Agency, the police and internationally to stamp out this illicit trade.”
Successful seizures include 466 Hermann’s tortoises, 1.6 tonnes of tortoise jelly, 3,890 kilos of medicinal products seized containing extracts from endangered species, 8 live big cats and a Rolls Royce upholstered with alligator skin.