By Nick Mcdermott, Nick Enoch
Rhino horns, tortoises and big cats, pinned butterflies and boxes of Detonate bodybuilding supplements - these are just some of the items being smuggled into Britain, according to border officials.
On one shelf in a secret warehouse is a tiny stuffed tortoise, looking like a toy; nearby a larger marine turtle imported through Dover as a souvenir, its insides hollowed out.
The Home Office has revealed that more items were confiscated between April 2012 and April 2013 than in any other year.
Other contraband included £4,000 shawls made of Tibetan antelope wool and books bound in elephant hide.
Grant Miller, the senior officer on the Border Force team, said: 'We have everything from rhino horn to ivory to the taxidermy items and marine species that we see being brought back into the UK, both in passengers' luggage - but more importantly, and in large quantities, through freight.'
Items are confiscated at the border under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
The 2012/13 year saw 690 items seized - up from 509 the previous year - and included 3,890kg of medicine containing extracts of endangered species, 326 ivory items and 93 live animals.
In the climate-controlled warehouse, shelves overflow with items waiting for CITES experts to see if they fall under the treaty.
Jan Sowa, who works with the CITES team, said: 'I'm not surprised by anything any more.' More....