Two Britons arrested over caviar smuggling

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Two men have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling illegally harvested caviar worth £250,000 into Britain.

More than 350 kilos (770lb) of Sevruga caviar, which comes from the endangered star sturgeon, was seized at Manchester airport's cargo centre. Customs and Excise officers believe false documents were used to try to clear the Russian delicacy through official channels.

Illegally poached sturgeon accounts for about 90 per cent of caviar on the market and is a lucrative source of profit for organised crime gangs. Star sturgeon, whose numbers have declined by 80 per cent in recent years, are easy to catch because of their large size and predictable breeding habits. They spawn in the Caspian Sea and Volga river.

The two men, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, were arrested after the seizure and released on bail pending further inquiries.