Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp is facing 10 years in prison for breaking Australia's quarantine regulationsTOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

Johnny Depp, one of Hollywood's biggest stars, is facing a possible 10-year jail sentence in Australia for smuggling his two pet dogs into the country and breaking stringent quarantine regulations.

The star could also be fined AU $340,000 (£170,000), an Australian senate committee confirmed yesterday (25 May), reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Depp left the Gold Coast last night having finished filming the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean", but may be asked to return to answer the charges that he illegally smuggled his two Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo into the country in his private jet.

The committee heard that Depp, the pilot and other passengers all knew the dogs were aboard but all failed to alert the authorities. The pilot is also facing up to two years in prison for knowingly bringing the dogs into the country.

A search of the plane by customs officers also failed to spot the two pooches - a state of affairs described as "a complete balls up" by one committee member.

Authorities only became aware of the presence of the two dogs - who could potentially have been carrying rabies - when reports surfaced on social media sites of the two dogs attending a dog grooming salon, apparently posted by the salon itself on Facebook.

Pirates of the Caribbean
Johnny Depp is reprising his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the fifth Pirates Of The Caribbean movie Dead Men Tell No TalesDisney

Senator Richard Colbeck said in the Senate rural and regional affairs and transport committee: "A celebrity brought their dogs in to be pampered. The dogs were duly pampered and that pampering was put onto social media."

When the authorities learned of the two dogs, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce threatened to have them both put down unless they were removed from the country.

"He has decided to bring to our nation two dogs without actually getting proper certification and the proper permits required," said Joyce at the time.

"Basically, it looks like he snuck them in. We found out he snuck them in because we saw him taking them to a poodle groomer."