By SARAH GRAHAM
Slippery character: A crocodile with tape around its mouth is one of several taken by fraud police from a villa in Lapscheure, Damme, near the Dutch border
It's perhaps not the first thing you'd expect to find if you're a police officer searching the home of a suspected fraudster.
But these 11 Nile crocodiles - five of them squeezed into a small shower - and an alligator were what officers stumbled across at a house in northern Belgium.
They were searching the villa of a German man suspected of fraud in the village of Lapscheure when they came across the reptiles.
The scale of the find: 'They were really kept in horrible conditions,' said Frederik Thoelen, a biologist
Five of the crocodiles were found squeezed into a small, dirty shower; five others were kept in an aquarium made for only two, and the alligator, was rolled up in several blankets.
'They were really kept in horrible conditions,' said Frederik Thoelen, a biologist at the Nature Rescue Centre where they are now being kept.
Taken away: The reptiles are now being kept at the nearby Nature Rescue Centre
He said the owner told them the crocodiles were about five years old, but they were far too small for their age, most likely because of their restrictive caging and insufficient food. Instead of measuring more than two metres (six feet), they were only a little over one metre (three feet).
Thoelen said the animals probably will not get a special treat for Christmas, because 'they got their biggest present yesterday' when they were rescued.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Arrest him - and make it snappy! Police officers discover 11 crocodiles and an alligator during search of suspected fraudster's home
By SARAH GRAHAM