A plane passenger was caught trying to smuggle 17 live partridges into Manchester Airport. Tariq Mehmood, 33, crammed the birds in small wooden crates inside three suitcases on a long-haul flight from Pakistan, a court heard. When customs officers stopped Mehmood, he said his bags contained “clothes and stuff”, but a search revealed the stashed animals.
Thirteen birds were already dead and the remaining four were put down by a vet. The offender later said he brought the partridges from abroad “because he liked them” and was upset over their deaths, magistrates were told. When his luggage was searched at the airport, officials found 17 partridges, divided between three wooden boxes.
The crates had been wrapped in his family’s clothes, which were seized because they were covered in faeces and insects. Mehmood, a married father of three, later claimed that his clothes cost between £1,500 and £2,000 and they should be returned to him. But Manchester magistrates refused to release the items, after hearing they could be contaminated.
Mehmood, of Liversedge, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to landing a prohibited animal without a licence. He was stopped by customs officers on September 16, 2012. The court heard how Mehmood put the birds in his suitcase a day earlier, and the flight stopped in Dubai before continuing to Manchester. Mehmood was given a 12-month community order, and must carry out 140 hours’ unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £260 costs.