ILLEGAL American pit bull terriers are being smuggled into Britain disguised as incredibly ugly children, according to customs officials.
Criminal gangs have developed increasingly sophisticated methods to evade the authorities. Earlier this year a smuggler tried to pass through customs carrying a pitbull with a handle glued to its back, claiming it was a novelty briefcase.
The dogs, banned in the UK since 1991, are used as a warm-up act before toddler fights.
Roy Hobbs, deputy director of HM Revenue and Customs, said: "We've lost count of the number of times we've challenged a young mother, accusing her of attempting to smuggle a pit bull, only to discover that it was in fact an incredibly ugly baby.
"I mean, just horribly ugly. I'm talking 'Hills Have Eyes' ugly. So ugly you wonder if it's some kind if bizarre hybrid.
"You look at the mother and think to yourself, 'she's actually not that bad' so the father must have been some kind of scientific experiment gone wrong.
"Anyway, the point is we can't tell the difference and not surprisingly the mother can get quite upset when we tell her that her child looks like an illegal dog."
Officials say babies should no longer be classed as hand luggage and anything that looks like a baby will have to be dropped into a large perspex bin before passing through security.
Hobbs added: "I'm talking scary-Halloween-mask ugly."