Customs officers seized thousands of dried caterpillars at Gatwick airport last month.

Airport news for Gatwick,Travel on 07/03/2013.

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Customs officers seized thousands of dried caterpillars at Gatwick airport last month.

According to an AP report published on Monday, authorities at the West Sussex gateway discovered the insects on 23 February when a 22-year-old male from Burkina Faso arrived on an inbound flight from Istanbul airport.

Officers got quite a scare when they opened the man’s suitcase to find more than 94 kilograms of the dried critters inside. The young man told officials that he was bringing them into the UK as foodstuffs intended for personal consumption. However, the stash was confiscated because they the passenger had not complied with animal import regulations.

The traveller was released with just a warning, according to the AFP report.

Spokeswoman Ingrid Smith said on behalf of the UK Border Force that customs officers’ vigilance stopped the insects from entering the United Kingdom, which she noted could have caused harm to the local food chain.

Smith went on to add that passengers should be forewarned not to attempt transporting restricted items into the UK without the proper permit.

Border Force officials said the dried caterpillars were destroyed.

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