R250000 perlemoen bust: three arrested

THREE Port Elizabeth men were arrested after being caught in possession of perlemoen worth an estimated R250000 near Noordhoek late yesterday.

Speaking as the three men, aged 25, 28 and 35, were taken into custody at the Humewood police station shortly after 8.30pm last night, police spokesman Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said the suspects were caught off Marine Drive near Noordhoek at about 5pm.

"The arrests were made by the tactical task team, which falls under the Department of Environmental Affairs.

"The three-member team, accompanied by a member of the police dog unit, was conducting routine patrols as part of ongoing anti-perlemoen operations. The team spotted a vehicle known to be used by suspected poachers, which led to the discovery of the perlemoen and the arrests," Labans said.

He said two of the suspects were from the northern areas and one from South End. Two of the men arrested were brothers.

Tactical task team member Tom Swartz said they had confiscated three bags of the perlemoen which held 755 shucked (deshelled) and 87 unshucked perlemoen.

The men are expected to appear in court this week. - Shaun Gillham