Dried caterpillars found in luggage at Gatwick Airport

A haul of dried caterpillars were seized at Gatwick Airport.

The UK Border Force said its officers found 94kg of dried insects after stopping a 22-year-old man travelling from Burkina Faso via Istanbul at the South Terminal.

When officers checked the man's luggage, they discovered tens of thousands of dried caterpillars shrink-wrapped in cellophane and packed into four hessian bags. The man claimed they were for personal consumption and were to be used as food.

The insects were seized by Border Force because they breach controls on the importation of products of animal origin.

The Border Force said the discovery was among the largest of its kind at the airport.

Ingrid Smith, of Border Force, said: 'This was an unusual seizure but the vigilance of our officers has stopped these dried insects from entering the UK, and possibly posing a risk to our food chain.

'I would warn travellers not to attempt to bring any products of animal origin into the UK without a permit, as they may not have been inspected to appropriate standards and may contain diseases.'

Following the detection, which took place on 23 February, the man was warned by officers about the restrictions of bringing dried insects into the country.

The force said the insects will be destroyed.

Restrictions apply to products made from meat, dairy, fish, eggs and honey, as well as some fruit, vegetables and plants.

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