ILLEGAL rats meat has been seized at Tilbury docks.

The consignment of 340kgs smoked cane rats arrived from Ghana in a non-refrigerated container.

When Customs officers opened the container to examine the contents, they discovered boxes of synthetic hair at the front of the load. Behind the boxes they found more boxes containing hundreds of cane rats which are classed as bushmeat.

The headless carcasses were wrapped in newspaper and thought to be destined for the London markets.

John Kaye, spokesman for HM Revenue and Customs, said: "This discovery of bushmeat has stopped an illegal and unregulated product with health implications from reaching our streets."