Man and woman from Scotts Road offered spur-thighed tortoises for sale
The investigation began on April 29 when officers from the Met accompanied the City of London Animal Health Inspector to an address in Shackleton Court in Scotts Road, W12 after intelligence suggested that the address was concerned in the illegal importation and sale of kittens from Algeria.
On searching the address officers found six spur-thighed tortoises. This species is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Officers seized the tortoises and they were temporarily housed by Animal Health while officers made enquiries into the importation.
When it was established that the animals had been imported illegally, they were seized by Customs and have since been re-homed by UKBF.
As a result of this search and seizure, Kamel Gadouchi, 44 and Frederique Aline Chasles, 39 both of Shackleton Court were summonsed to attend Hammersmith Magistrates Court on May 23 to answer charges relating to the illegal import and keeping and sale of an endangered species.
Kamel Gadouchi faced one count of illegally importing and endangered species in relation to six spur-thighed tortoises, contrary to the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979 and one count of illegally keeping for sale specimens covered under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997.
On Tuesday, September 13 he was ordered to pay the following fines: £600 for importing endangered species, £600 for offering them for sale, £375.72 court costs and £198 compensation to be paid to animal reception centre and a £60 victim surcharge.
Frederique Aline Chasles faced one count of prohibited keeping for sale specimens covered under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 (i.e. six (6) Spur thighed tortoises). She was ordered to pay the following fines: £600 for offering them for sale, £375.72 court costs and £198 compensation to be paid to animal reception centre and a £60 victim surcharge.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Sarah Bailey of the Met's Wildlife Crime Unit said: "The illegal trade in this species and the impact on their conservation status has resulted in tortoises as a group being identified as a priority for wildlife crime enforcement.
"We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in HM Customs and Excise and Animal Heath and Welfare agencies to robustly confront those trading in wildlife illegally and place them before the courts."
September 14, 2016