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Woman pleads guilty to illegal import and sale of python skin products

News   •   Dec 14, 2018 15:53 GMT

Some of the products

A woman who illegally sold fashion accessories made of python skin online has pleaded guilty.

Stephanie Scolaro, 26 (05.02.1992) of Curzon Street, W1 was convicted at Southwark Crown Court today, 14 December to offences relating to the illegal import and sale of python skin.

She will be sentenced at the same court on 21 January 2019.

The court heard how on 7 November 2016 a parcel was seized at Leipzig Airport by German Custom Officers containing ten python skin hats and two bags.

The parcel was intended to be sent to Scolaro at her parents address in Mayfair.

Officers from the Met's Wildlife Crime Unit were alerted to the incident by UK Border Force and an investigation commenced.

Enquiries established that Scolaro operated an online company named 'SS-Python.com' selling python skin hats, bags, chokers and mobile phone covers.

On 8 March, 2017 officers attended an address in Baker Street where Scolaro had been living and seized a further five hats.

As a result, Scolaro attended a police station where she was voluntarily interviewed in relation to the illegal import/sale of python skin items.

Her products were subsequently discovered for sale at three London shops; two in Mayfair and one in Bexleyheath. The owners of these businesses were made aware and the products were seized.

On Thursday, 11 October, Scolaro was charged with two counts of importing goods with intention to evade prohibition and four counts of keeping for sale specimens of species imported / acquired unlawfully.

Detective Constable Sarah Bailey, from the Met's Wildlife Crime Unit, said: "Pythons are one of many species protected under CITES, an international treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.

"Any trade outside of the legal framework could threaten the conservation status of the remaining wild population and contribute to its decline in the wild.

"We will continue to enforce the regulations in place and work to protect these species when offences are discovered.

"I would like to thank the UK Border Force, Animal and Plant Health Agency and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee for their assistance with this investigation."