A passenger planned to fly out of Alicante-Elche airport with 46 live turtles, tortoises and crabs in his carry-on luggage.

The 64-year-old man was booked on a Denmark bound flight on May 11.

Security scanners in the departures area picked up some suspicious content in his case.

Guardia Civil officers ordered him to open it and found it crammed with 46 live specimens of turtles and crabs.

They were all rapped in cling film so that they would not move around but would have suffocated in a short time.

Experts from the Guardia’s environment division, Seprona, identified 37 American crayfish among the stash along with six leprosy tortoises.

The tortoises fell under Spain’s endangered species classification.

All of the animals were taken to the Santa Faz wildlife recovery centre.

The smuggler has been charged with animal abuse and illegally trafficking a protected species.

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