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Airline fined after illegally importing dogs into UK via Gatwick

Multiple incidents were recorded.

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An airline has been ordered to pay nearly £10,000 after it allowed dogs to illegally land at Gatwick Airport on multiple occasions.

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA transported a dog into the country on a flight from Bergen, Norway, which landed at the airport on 24 September 2017.

The animal should have been transported to Warsaw, but had been mistakenly loaded onto the wrong flight, while the airline is only approved to transport recognised Guide or Assistant Dogs into the UK. The dog was taken into quarantine shortly after landing to be exported to Oslo.

The airline had been issued with two written warnings by West Sussex Trading Standards in December 2016 and February 2017 in relation to similar offences concerning a number of illegal landings of dogs at Gatwick.

A second incident took place on 27 September, when the airline transported a dog from Los Angeles, which had travelled in the cabin as an ‘emotional support dog’. There was no evidence the animal was classed as a recognised assistance dog, and it did not have an EU pet passport.

A third incident then took place on 31 December when a dog was transported on a flight from New York without required documentation to show it had received the necessary vaccinations, and it could not be classed as a recognised assistance dog. It was placed into quarantine for exportation.

A fourth incident on 26 January 2018 involved a dog travelling from Oakland, USA, which also had no evidence to classify it was a recognised assistance dog. The animal also had a name missing from a pet passport.

Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities said: “I hope this sentence will deter other airlines and organisations from thinking they can disregard important animal health laws which, if not kept, could potentially be dangerous to our local communities.

“It is a credit to our Trading Standards team that they were able to build such a case against the airline for such a period of time, and bring it to the necessary conclusion.”

At Worthing Magistrates Court on 29 June, Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA was fined for four counts, one for each incident, under the Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order 2011, and four counts, one for each incident, under The Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and other Mammals) Order 1974.

The airline was fined £1,000 for each offence, totalling £8,000, and was ordered to pay £1,734.06 in costs, and a £100 victim surcharge.

Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standard’s Team Manager, said:

“We hope that this case will act as a deterrent to other airlines and indeed all those importing pets into the UK. If you breach the rules that keep the UK safe from animal disease, there will be consequences.

“In this case, despite previous warnings by Trading Standards, the airline continued to flout the rules and this was reflected in the level of fine the airline received.”

A Norwegian spokesperson said:

“The cases in this matter were rare isolated incidents concerning emotional support animals and Norwegian does everything possible to meet its obligations in line with UK regulations and the countries we serve. We have since revised our procedures accordingly to ensure that we fully comply with all regulations.”

You can report concerns about illegally imported animals by contacting Trading Standards on 03454 040506 or online at https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/business-and-consumers/trading-standards-information-for-consumers/report-an-incident-or-issue-to-trading-standards/

Gatwick

Criminals beware, Project Servator has launched at Gatwick and it WILL spot you!

Unpredictable, that’s the key word for the project launched at Gatwick Airport for the first time, ensuring that security checks are performed without any notice.

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In this day and age we all feel a sense of safety whenever we see a police patrol going about their business.  None more so than at an airport.

“deter, detect and disrupt hostile reconnaissance”

Now Gatwick has gone one step further and adopted the national project Servator that has performed so well up and down the country.

Inspector James Biggs from the Gatwick Police Prevention Team explained:

“Project Servator is a project initiated by the city of London police that has now gone nationwide including railway stations and airports.

It’s designed to deter, detect and disrupt the hostile reconnaissance coming to the airport and places of interest.  That’s all levels of criminality from shoplifters to terrorists.

The project has been live nationwide for a number of a years which is why we adopted it here.”

But what is it?

The aim is be as unpredictable as possible and run security checks utilising all arms of the available resources available to the police, from uniformed to plain clothed and armed officers.  Additionally the use of dogs and the sophisticated CCTV and number plate recognition software all combine to create the airports very own ring of steel.

The officers have been specially trained to detect people who may come to the airport and act in a different manner.  Something not easy in an environment as busy as Gatwick where the people change every single hour and day.

But it is not just within the airport buildings that the project is undertaken.

Road checkpoints have also been set up ensuring that if anyone even thinks about getting close to the airport for wrong reasons then they will have no choice but to come face to face with the police.

Whilst the whole project is all about being unpredictable and therefore catching out would-be criminals, there is an additional side that could be witnessed first hand while watching the officers in action.

Smiles on the faces of passengers.

The very presence, the interaction and the belief that Gatwick is showing that safety is of paramount importance to all who both work and travel through the airport.

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