Iguanas hidden in socks seized at Heathrow
Thirteen endangered iguanas have been seized after they were found hidden in socks inside a suitcase at Heathrow.
The San Salvador Rock iguanas are a controlled species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).
Border Force officers found the reptiles in a case while carrying out customs checks at Terminal 5.
Each one was wrapped in an individual sock - 12 survived their journey, one had died.
The iguanas arrived on a flight from the Bahamas taken by two Romanian women aged 24 and 26, who were arrested on suspicion of importation offences.
The women were due to fly on to Dusseldorf in Germany.
Grant Miller, of the Border Force, said: "This particular species of iguana is incredibly rare - only a few hundred are believed to be left in existence - so this was a remarkable and very important seizure.
"Given the circumstances we found them in it seems incredible that all but one survived such a long flight.
"The surviving animals were dehydrated and are now under the supervision of a specialist vet.
"We are also working with experts to find the best way to protect and safeguard these endangered creatures longer term."
Officers from the National Crime Agency's Border Policing Command are now investigating.
Border Force officers in the year 2012/13 made more than 690 seizures under Cites regulations, up from 516 the year before.
Among them were 326 ivory items and 93 live animals.
Anyone with suspicions about smuggling is asked to phone Revenue and Customs Confidential on 0800 59 5000.