Australian man caught with pigeons in trousers

MELBOURNE, February 3, 2009 (AFP) – An Australian man was caught with two live pigeons stuffed in his trousers as he got off a flight from the Middle East, authorities said Tuesday. Customs officers body-searched the 23-year-old after he was allegedly found with two bird eggs in a vitamin container in his pocket during baggage checks at Melbourne Airport on Sunday.

“The man was taken to a private interview room and Customs and border protection officers found he was wearing tights with a live pigeon concealed in each leg,” Customs said.

The man, who had come off a ten-hour flight from Dubai, was also allegedly carrying plant seeds in a money belt and eggplant samples in his bag.

“Wildlife smuggling is not only cruel to the animals involved, it poses a severe risk to the Australian environment and the health of the Australian community,” said Customs wildlife spokesman Richard Janeczko.

The offences carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a 110,000 dollar fine (70,000 US dollars).