Cardiff Airport: Border Force seizes weapons, animal parts
Passengers at Cardiff Airport have been warned not to buy dangerous weapons and illegal animal products abroad.
Border Force officers say they have seized dozens of knuckle dusters, flick knives, and a Samurai sword this year.
They have also confiscated traditional medicines and other products made from endangered species.
Alex Lawther, Border Force assistant director for Wales, said: "If it looks like it could be illegal on the streets of the UK, don't bring it back."Prosecution
End Quote Alex Lawther Border Force assistant director for Wales
Because it's for sale abroad in an open market don't assume it's legal in the UK”
The warning comes at the height of the summer holiday season, with tourists warned to think carefully before buying souvenirs.
"Offensive weapons tend to come from Eastern Mediterranean ports - Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus - where you can buy these things on the open market," said Mr Lawther.
"We also have products made from endangered species - powdered tiger organs, ivory, rare coral, snakeskins - all of which the importation is illegal," he added.
Mr Lawther said people would see their goods confiscated and may face prosecution depending on the circumstances.
"In terms of endangered species, there's no doubt it's deliberate - you can't buy such a product without being aware of its origin," he said.
"Offensive weapons tend to be more innocuous - people think of them as souvenirs and are not aware that these things are banned in the UK.
"We deal with people on a case-by-case basis," he added, "and look at whether we're dealing with repeat offenders who have been warned before.
"If it's a tourist whose child has bought something then we will seize the goods. If it's something more dangerous we'll look at prosecution.
"All our staff are trained to intercept this sort of importation - we have intelligence, we have exercises and we have very vigilant officers who do this on a daily basis."Protected
Mr Lawther said Border Force was actively warning passengers about illegal goods through a leafleting campaign, and urged holidaymakers to use common sense.
"If it looks like it could be illegal on the streets of the UK, don't bring it back.
"Because it's for sale abroad in an open market don't assume it's legal in the UK.
"Think about whether you'd want your children to be on the receiving end of one of these weapons."
In January the foot of a hippopotamus and 10 carved ivory ornaments were seized from a passenger arriving at Cardiff from Zambia via Amsterdam.
The agency said that around 5,000 species of animals and 29,000 species of plants were protected by a global trade treaty CITES - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.