Cat smuggler's disgust

A CONVICTED cat smuggler from Kesgrave today threatened to leave the country after he was ordered to pay £2,800 by magistrates.


A CONVICTED cat smuggler from Kesgrave today threatened to leave the country after he was ordered to pay £2,800 by magistrates.

His outburst comes on the day experts were awaiting test results expected to confirm that a man critically ill in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, after being bitten by a bat has rabies.

Doctors say that if the blood, saliva and skin biopsy tests prove positive, the patient has no chance of survival.

However Dutch-born Robert Prins, a former world hitch hiking record holder, is furious with the anti-rabies laws which have left him thousands of pounds out of pocket.

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Tearful Prins, an IT consultant from Lummis Vale who is job hunting, said: "I've had enough. I don't want to live in this country any more. This is the final straw."

"I know it happens every day people take animals into the UK," he said. "I knew it was possible in theory. I don't know how many occasions I have heard animals in cars."

On the cross channel ferry he kept the kitten – called Smispel – calm and stayed on deck during the journey. "I didn't sedate her," he said. "I love animals. You couldn't sedate a kitten."

He said the kitten, which came from the botanical gardens in the Lithuanian capital of Vilinus, was a surprise for his Lithuanian wife, Audrone, 44, who was missing her animals.

They made calls for to the RSPCA and the Cat's Protection League but they didn't have kittens and took a shine to the animal in the botanical gardens in Lithuania.

Jennifer Alexander, prosecuting on behalf of Trading Standards told South East Suffolk Magistrates Court yesterday that Prins was rumbled by neighbours after boasting he could easily smuggle the cat from Eastern Europe.

The court heard he first lied to officers investigating the case before admitting bringing the seven-month-old kitten into the UK.

She told how he carried the cat in a hold-all and took it for walks on a piece of string as he hitch-hiked around Europe. Prins's bizarre 50-hour journey covered 1,500 miles.

But the 42-year-old is used to long journeys as he holds the Guinness World Record for hitch hiking covering 1,440 miles in 24 hours in four lifts as he hitched from Yugoslavia to Hamburg.

Prins, who represented himself, told the court he had the cat inoculated. He later said he lied to officers because: "I was scared, why else. I knew I did wrong."

Vicky Sears, bench chairwoman, sentenced him to a £1,000 fine and ordered him to pay £1,800 costs.

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