Serial international raptor egg smuggler faces lengthy custodial sentence

The name Jeffrey Lendrum will be familiar to many blog readers. He’s the criminal who was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison in 2010 when he was caught trying to smuggle peregrine eggs (stuffed inside socks taped to his stomach) out of Birmingham airport enroute to the Middle East (see here). Lendrum had stolen the eggs from nest sites in Wales and investigators believe he had collected them to order for an Arab falconer in Dubai.

[Jeffrey Lendrum at court in 2010, photo by Express Papers]

Prior to that 2010 conviction, Lendrum had been found guilty of similar offences involving stolen falcon eggs from nests in Zimbabwe (1984) and Canada (2002).

In 2016, Lendrum was sentenced to 4.5 years in jail in Brazil after being caught in possession of rare falcon eggs at Sao Paulo airport, enroute from Chile to Dubai (see here). However, in 2017 it was reported (here) that he was appealing his sentence and the Brazilian authorities released him on bail pending that appeal. Lendrum subsequently disappeared.

In June 2018 Lendrum was caught at Heathrow airport wearing a body belt that contained 19 eggs of various raptor species from South Africa (here). He initially pleaded not guilty which led to his trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court yesterday.

Lendrum eventually pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial to four charges of Evasion of a Restriction contrary to the Customs and Excise Management Act. He was remanded in custody and sentencing is expected today (Wednesday).

Coverage of this story can be found in the Daily Telegraph (here) and Daily Mail (here).

We’re interested in the legislation under which Lendrum was charged and convicted. Clearly not any wildlife-specific legislation and also clearly quite serious as his trial took place in the Crown Court rather than a lower Magistrates Court. This looks like a creative approach to tackling someone who commits serial wildlife crimes – good work by the UK Border Force and the National Crime Agency.

The judge reportedly warned Lendrum yesterday that he faced a lengthy jail term. Although according to this fascinating article written by Joshua Hammer, who has been researching Lendrum for a proposed biography, Lendrum is suffering from cancer so his apparent ill health may well be used in mitigation to influence (lessen) the severity of his sentence. We’ll see.

UPDATE 10 January 2018: Raptor smuggler Jeffrey Lendrum receives 3 year custodial sentence (here)


10 Responses to “Serial international raptor egg smuggler faces lengthy custodial sentence”

  1. 1 Paul V Irving
    January 9, 2019 at 9:34 am

    His apparent ill health didn’t stop him committing these offences so it shouldn’t stop a proper sentence. I would also ban him from future entry into the UK.

  2. 2 Paul V Irving
    January 9, 2019 at 10:00 am

    I omitted to say on completion of sentence I would deport him to Brazil for the completion of his sentence there also.

  3. 4 Secret Squirrel
    January 9, 2019 at 10:53 am

    You do wonder how much he has got away with over the years.

  4. 5 Doug
    January 9, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Deja vu – here we go again. The old “ill health” gambit to avoid getting banged up. Remember Earnest Saunders (Guiness share price fiddling). Sentenced to 5 years, but out in 10 months because he allegedly had Alzeimher’s disease, which is incurable. Next thing we know is he makes a miraculous recovery.

    Not much point in sending criminal low life back to Brazil where he will be released if there is a chance he will leave the country and become someone else’s problem.

    What sentence this scumbag gets will be highly dependent on what money and influence he has behind him.
    If he had a rich landowner then he would get a tickle on the wrist and told to tidy himself up a bit.

  5. 6 Dave Dick
    January 9, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    The damage that people like Lendrum has done is far reaching and long remembered – when I was meeting raptor workers in in Zimbabwe in 1999 they were still incensed about his destructive exploits in 1984. Nothing that has happened to him since then has stopped his thieving right up to 2018.What is most important about this case is that it must send a strong message to other wildlife thieves – and that wont happen if all he gets is a slap on the wrist…this should be about deterrence of any other Lendrums out there.

  6. January 9, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Evidently he has Irish and Zimbabwean citizenship, so why, as a serial criminal, is he even allowed entry into the UK ?
    Surely we have laws restricting entry to criminals.

    • 8 StuartM
      January 10, 2019 at 7:05 am

      Having previous convictions doesn’t automatically bar you from traveling. Some countries are more strict than others, but in general, applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and there is no automatic barring if you have a conviction. In Britain we have this concept where ex-convicts are allowed the opportunity to reform, rather than persecute them for the rest of their lives. While that may upset Daily Mail readers, unfortunately it’s part of living in a fair society.
      Anyway, we don’t know the circumstances in which he was stopped at Heathrow. His criminal history, particularly his abconsion from justice in Brazil, most likely flagged him up to Customs Officers before his flight even arrived in Britain.

  7. 9 Paul V Irving
    January 10, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Do we know what the sentence was yet?

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