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4.8.12

The head of the iguana and its claws are visible on the front of the handbag While it might have been a clear case for the fashion police, it was the border agency who stepped in to confiscate one woman's latest accessory, a handbag made out of an entire iguana - complete with its head and claws.
Customs officers at Cardiff Airport were stunned when the holidaymaker returned from a trip to Morocco with the exotic lizard as her fashion accessory.

They quickly swooped on the creepy couture which is on a list of endangered animal skins that are illegal to bring in to Britain. With her sense of style possibly affected by the heat of the sun, the woman's latest purchase was made out of dried iguana skin.At least one body of a lizard had been stretched out into a satchel, while its head was turned into a clasp and the claws used for decoration.

Border control officials at Cardiff airport because it is illegal to bring endangered animal skins into Britain. Fashion lovers were warned about not picking up the animal skin bags at markets and bazaars while on exotic getaways.

Alex Lawther, assistant director of the Border Force in Wales, said: ‘My message to holidaymakers is simple - don’t do it.‘At best, you will have these items taken off you and at worst you could face a criminal conviction.‘Some people are quite surprised and upset when we tell them that they cannot bring the items into the country.

The entire iguana, similar to the one pictured, was used to make the handbag
‘Just because you can legally buy an item while on holiday abroad, it does not mean you can bring it back to the UK. ‘Importing products made from endangered species is illegal and there’s no doubt it’s deliberate - you can’t buy such a product without being aware of its origin.’

Animal skin is legally protected under international trade agreements which prevent it being taken through customs.

Staff at Cardiff airport are no strangers to bizarre hauls; in the past they have had to deal with antelope horns and children's slippers made from snake skin.
Around 5,000 species of animals and 29,000 species of plants are protected by a global trade treaty - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

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