A man who went to reclaim his lost suitcase was slapped with a €6,000 fine and a suspended jail term after customs officials opened it and discovered that he was carrying dead protected birds.

Kenneth Tanti was caught with three Ferruginous Ducks and a Little Grebe in suitcase, following a hunting trip to Romania. 

The court presided by Magistrate Antonio Vella heard that customs officials grew suspicious due to the foul smell coming from the suitcase, which arrived in Malta three days after its owner. The man was subsequently charged with the illegal importation of birds.

Both the Ferruginous Duck (Brajmla Ħamra) and the Little Grebe (Blonġun żgħir) are protected species but the Ferruginous Duck enjoys the highest level of protection due to its Annex 1 classification under the EU Birds Directive.

Mr Tanti was fined €6,000 and handed a one-year jail term suspended for three years with probation. His hunting licence was also revoked, for life.