Shepherd’s Bush pair fined £3,000 for smuggling endangered tortoises
A man and a woman have been fined £3,000 after smuggling endangered tortoises into the UK.
Police raided the pair’s Shepherd’s Bush home after reports suggested they had been illegally importing kittens from Algeria – but instead found six spur-thighed tortoises.
The pair were found guilty of importing and offering the rare species of tortoises for sale.
Spur-thighed tortoises are native to parts of Africa, Europe and Asia and are a protected species.
Officers from the Met and the City of London’s animal health inspector seized the tortoises, which have now been rehomed.
Kamel Gadouchi, 44, and Frederique Aline Chasles, 39, both of Shackleton Court, appeared at Hammersmith Magistrates Court on May 23 facing charges about the illegal import, keeping and sale of the tortoises.
Gadouchi was fined £600 for importing the animals, £600 for offering them for sale, £375.22 court costs and £198 compensation to an animal centre. He was also charged a £60 victim surcharge.
Chasles was fined £600 for offering them for sale, £375.72 court costs and £198 compensation to an animal 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 Health and Welfare agencies to robustly confront those trading in wildlife illegally and place them before the courts. »