Antiques dealer fined for trying to sell tiger's head

An antiques dealer who offered parts of a tiger and leopard for sale online has been fined £1,000 in court.

Richard Wales, 49, tried to sell a tiger's head mounted on a wooden shield, and leopard and tiger claws, over the internet.

Wales, from Melrose in the Scottish Borders, admitted breaching the regulations designed to protect endangered species from illegal trade during a hearing at Jedburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday.

A leopard's claw was among the items advertised (Courtesy of Crown Office/PA)
A leopard's claw was among the items advertised (Crown Office/PA)

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), which revealed details of the case, said the court heard police discovered adverts placed by Wales on two sales websites.

A search of his home in September 2015 uncovered a mounted tiger's head on a wall, which Wales said he had removed from a tiger rug.

An expert from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) concluded it was the same head offered for sale in the Gumtree advert.

Other eBay adverts, from Wales' "theexplorersstudy" account, offering tiger and leopard claws for sale, were also examined.

Tigers claws can only be sold by someone with a licence (Courtesy of Crown Office/PA)
Tigers claws can only be sold by someone with a licence (Crown Office/PA)

Claws of tigers and leopards cannot be sold without a licence from the UK Government's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

Prosecutors were also granted an order forfeiting the tiger's head, valued at £3,200, COPFS said.

Laura Buchan, assistant procurator fiscal for specialist casework, said: "This illegal trade has a harmful effect on the conservation status of tigers and contributes to their decline in the wild.

"Richard Wales failed in his responsibilities and as a result stands convicted of a criminal offence.

"It's vitally important that those in the antiques trade fully understand the legislation as well as take seriously their obligations in respect of the trade in items from endangered species."

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