Law of Unintended Consequences: Search for Missing Parrot Leads to UK Cannabis Bust
A United Kingdom woman who went viral in an online video of her trying to find her missing parrot, an African grey named Chanel, has been charged over a £792,000 cannabis haul.
Jessica Murray, The Guardian
10 May 2023 at 11:00:00
The Guardian reported on April 2023 that Sandra Hannah, 43, became a social media sensation during the first Covid lockdown in 2020 after her pet parrot flew away from home, prompting a frantic search.
On Friday, 21 April 2023, Merseyside police said they had charged her and Ian Hannah, 55, with the importation of cannabis and possession of criminal property.
Police said it followed a joint operation between the Sefton investigations team and the National Crime Agency, which led to the discovery of 237.6kg of cannabis resin imported from Spain, valued at approximately £792,000.
Pictures shared by the force on social media showed large tubs labelled as citronella used to disguise the substance.
Sandra Hannah’s face will be recognisable to many after she recorded herself searching nearby streets for her winged pet while crying and repeatedly bellowing her name.
In a desperate appeal to her Facebook friends to help her find the animal, she says: “My parrot has just flew away out my garden. CHANEL! Her name is Chanel, she’s gone towards the canal, please everyone please. CHANEL! My parrot is gone. She’s an African grey, her name’s Chanel.”
The video was so popular Hannah was invited on to ITV breakfast show This Morning, where she shared the news that Chanel has been found about a mile away from home, three days after she went missing, and was featured again in 2021 when the parrot disappeared again.
In a social media post on Friday morning, 21 April 2023 Sefton police announced Hannah had been charged.
“Over the past two days there has been a joint operation between Operation Pelican, Sefton investigations team and the National Crime Agency which has resulted in two adults being charged with the importation of 237.6kg of Cannabis Resin from Spain. This has been valued at approximately £792,000,” the post read.
“Ian Hannah, 55, and Sandra Hannah, 43, of Cumberland Gate, Netherton have both been charged with importation of cannabis and possession of criminal property.”
The force said both had been remanded in custody.
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