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Woman sentenced for illegal trade of tiger skins

30/09/2016

A woman has been given a six month suspended prison sentence at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court for attempting to sell two tiger skin rugs illegally on eBay in 2014.

Dovile Vaitkeviciute, 31, of Wood Green, London, also purchased one of the items illegally and then falsely claimed that it had been received as a gift in order to get the required licence from the Animal Plant and Health Agency to sell it.

The tiger is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Both of the items were from a sub species of tiger that became extinct in the 1980s and one of the them was put on the auction site for £5,000. In order to trade items such as these, individuals need to be able to prove that their origin was prior to 1947, the item is tanned and lined and that they had been obtained legally. Carbon dating as part of the police investigation showed that the origin of both items was well after that date.

Yemi Awosika, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "The sale of items such as these is a highly lucrative criminal business that threatens the survival of tigers in the wild. That these items were from a species that is already extinct shows how critical it is that we prosecute this illegal criminal activity.

"Carbon dating confirmed that the origin of one of the skins was dated near the late 1970s. Sadly the sub-species of tiger that these skins came from became extinct in the 1980s and a prosecution expert said that this particular tiger may well have been one of the last of its kind.

"Vaitkeviciute attempted to bypass the legal sale of these items and has been convicted for her actions. This successful prosecution sends out a strong message to those involved that the illegal sale of wildlife items will not be tolerated. We are committed to working with our Defra and police colleagues to stamp out this illegal trade and support the preservation of our endangered species."

Notes

Vaitkeviciute pleaded guilty to the following charges at a hearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on 8 September 2016:

  • One count of knowingly / recklessly making a false statement / representation to obtain a permit / certificate
  • Four counts of purchasing / offering to purchase etc / selling / or keeping for sale etc specimen of an endangered species.

On 29 September she was sentenced to:

  • 3 months x 2 (to be served consecutively) - suspended for 24 months
  • 180 hours unpaid work
  • Victim surcharge - £80
  • Costs - £85
  • Costs for Carbon Dating - £520
  • Total - £685

Ends

Notes to Editors

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