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Man who sold fur coats made out of endangered leopards and wolves sentenced

News   •   Sep 21, 2018 15:00 BST

Image: Leopord jacket

A man who sold fur coats made from protected species, including leopard, wolf and lynx, via online trading has been sentenced.

Timothy Norris, 40, (07.08.1977) of Beaconsfield Road, Surrey, pleaded guilty at Croydon Magistrates' Court on Thursday, 20 September, to offences relating to the illegal trade of endangered species.

He was given a 200 hour community service order. Police have commenced confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

On 14 February 2017, a search was conducted at Norris' home address, where officers from the Met's Wildlife Crime unit discovered and seized 24 fur garments, mainly coats, made out of the fur from endangered wild cats.

The search took place after a researcher from the Met's Wildlife Crime Unit found an online trader under the name of 'DianaGrant77', later identified as Norris, offering fur garments for sale via eBay.

Norris was interviewed under caution that same day. On Wednesday, 27 June 2018, he was charged with the following offences:

o One count of Possession and one count of Sale of CITES listed species in the form of coats, hats and scarves, namely ocelot, leopard, wolf and lynx contrary to the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997.

o One count of illegal export of the same without re-export permits contrary to Customs & Excise Management Act 1979.

Coats made from these species may be legally traded without permits, if made before 3 March 1947 or after March 1947, providing they hold an Article 10 certificate issued by a CITES Management Authority. The coats sold by and seized from Norris appeared to be of fairly recent origin and no valid Article 10 certificates accompanied the coats, making his sales illegal.

Norris also exported many CITES listed coats outside of the EU, which is only legal if the garment is accompanied by a re-export permit issued by the UK CITES Management Authority, Animal and Plant Health Agency; Norris had never applied for any re-export permits, therefore also rendering those exports illegal.

DC Sarah Bailey, from the Met's Wildlife Crime Unit, said: "Offenders like Norris are helping to fuel the illegal wildlife trade. Leopards, snow leopards and clouded leopard populations are assessed as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red list and any trade outside the legal framework could threaten the conservation status of remaining wild populations."

"The Met's Wildlife Crime Unit are committed to ensuring that anyone in London trading illegally in endangered animal fur garments, is caught. There are laws in place to protect endangered species and I would urge anyone who sees fur coats from protected wildlife for sale to contact police."