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[One of the items recovered by officers]
[One of the items recovered by officers]

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Man guilty of selling jewellery containing endangered elephant hair

A man has been convicted of the illegal sale of gold jewellery containing hair from African elephants following a Met investigation. 

Maharaj Sivasundram, 40 (16.2.1982) of Malden Fields, Bushey, was found guilty on Friday, 29 April at Harrow Crown Court of seven counts of offering the sale of products containing specimens derived from endangered species.

He was fined £8,400, required to pay costs of £3,500 and a surcharge of £170

In 2017, detectives discovered a shop in Wembley was advertising gold jewellery, including rings and bangles, containing elephant hair, for sale.

Enquiries were carried out to ascertain whether the establishment had ever legally imported elephant hair jewellery, but no permits had ever been issued.

Officers carried out a search warrant at the premises on 15 May 2018. A large quantity of gold jewellery containing black fibres was seized. At this time Sivasundram was not arrested, but was later interviewed under caution.

Forensic tests conducted by the Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) Laboratory on samples of the jewellery detected DNA from African elephants. Baby bangles offered for sale at the venue were labelled as ‘elephant hair’

Detective Constable Sarah Bailey, from the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “There are legal requirements surrounding the sale of specimens derived from protected or endangered species, requirements which had not been met in this case”.

“African elephants continue to be poached, activity which partners globally are trying to prevent, so it is incredibly worrying that illegal derivatives from elephants have appeared for sale in London”.

“We will continue to identify and prosecute those profiting in London from the illegal trade of endangered species from around the world.”

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