By Tara Rippin •
Published: 25 Nov 2020 • 14:51
A jeweller who illegally sold items containing elephant hair has been given a 32-week jail term, suspended for 16 months.
Rajtharan Mahalingam, 40, from the Isle of Wight, was selling jewellery claiming to contain elephant hair from his jewellery shop in Wembley.
The Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit discovered via online research that the jewellery had been illegally imported as there were no permits in place for the premises to import, sell or commercially use specimens derived from elephants.
Police searched the premises in May 2018, and a large quantity of jewellery containing elephant hair was seized.
Forensic analysis confirmed the hair samples matched DNA from both an African and Asian elephant.
Detective Constable Sarah Bailey said: “There are legal requirements in relation to the import, sale and commercial use of specimens derived from protected/endangered species and these had not been complied with.
“African and Asian elephants continue to be poached and it is worrying that the derivatives of such activity may appear for sale in London.”
Mahalingam was found guilty at Harrow Crown Court on Tuesday, November 24, of seven counts of purchase/offer to purchase/sell/keep for sale/commercial use of products containing specimens derived from endangered species (elephant hair) contrary to the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997.
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
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