Gran has to shell out for smuggling tortoises into Scotland

Gran has to shell out for smuggling tortoises into Scotland

A GRAN who brought two endangered tortoises back from holiday as pets for her grandson was fined £300 yesterday.

Janice Rennie, 60, of Stirling, was caught in a sting operation by the Scottish SPCA after she tried to sell one of the tiny reptiles.GB

Animal welfare officers contacted her son Michael Rennie in September last year after one of the spur-thighed tortoises was advertised for sale in a newsagent’s window.

They set up a meeting at his home in Stirling, where they were shown two tortoises by the accused and told the smaller one was for sale.

Rennie said she wanted £100 for it and claimed no documents were required for the sale, the city’s sheriff court heard.

Prosecutor Shona McJannett said: “The SSPCA secured a search warrant and when they returned, they found the smaller of the tortoises had died and the larger one was hidden in a plastic box in the oven.

“Officers were concerned for the welfare of the live animal and it was signed into their care.”

Virgil Crawford, defending, said Rennie had been “gifted” the tortoises by locals on a beach in Tunisia last August after her 13-year-old grandson said he wanted one.

He added: “A decision was taken to sell one of them because it appeared the larger one was attacking the smaller one.”

Spur-thighed tortoises are on the red list of endangered species and face a high risk of extinction in the wild, the court heard.

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson fined first offender Rennie, who pled guilty to advertising, offering and keeping for sale the two tortoises contrary to Control of Trade in Endangered Species regulations.