North fingered over illegal Cyprus delicacy

Many of the illegal game delicacies served in Cypriot restaurants are killed in the Turkish-occupied north of the island, the Cypriot government claimed yesterday in the wake of Wednesday’s seizure of some 5,000 diminutive corpses from Larnaca and Famagusta eateries. Although it is illegal to kill the small migratory birds known as ambelopoulia, for centuries a prized local dish, animal welfare groups say trappers are still exterminating millions yearly. Pressure from the EU, which in August sent inspectors to Cyprus on a three-month fact-finding mission, led to Wednesday’s crackdown – reportedly so fruitful that police had to buy an extra freezer to store the evidence. Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou yesterday said he had intelligence that many birds were sold by northern trappers, and pledged to look into complaints that diners were harassed by officers during Wednesday’s raids.