Wembley trader avoids jail after selling jewellery containing elephant hair

Rajtharan Mahalingam who illegally sold ewellery containing elephant hair in his Wembley shop. Picture: Met Police

Rajtharan Mahalingam who illegally sold ewellery containing elephant hair in his Wembley shop. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

A trader has avoided jail after illegally selling jewellery containing poached elephant hair in his Wembley shop.

Jewellery containing elephant hair seized from Wembley shop. Picture: Met Police

Jewellery containing elephant hair seized from Wembley shop. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Rajtharan Mahalingam sold jewellery derived from African and Asian elephants hair from his shop in Ealing Road.

The 40-year-old, who lives in the Isle of Wight, was found guilty at Harrow Crown Court on November 24.

He was charged with seven counts of buying, selling and commercially using products containing specimens derived from endangered species contrary to the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997.

He was sentenced to 32 weeks jail, suspended for 16 months, 200 hours unpaid work, a £200 fine, all jewellery containing elephant hair to be forfeited and £1,500 costs with a £140 surcharge.

Jewellery containing elephant hair seized from Wembley shop. Picture: Met Police

Jewellery containing elephant hair seized from Wembley shop. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

The court heard how in 2017, the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit discovered that a jewellery shop on Ealing Road was selling jewellery claiming to contain elephant hair.

Enquiries established that the jewellery had been illegally imported as there were no permits in place for the premises to import, sell or commercially use specimens derived from elephants, Scotland Yard said.

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A warrant was carried out on the premises on May 15 2018, and a large quantity of jewellery containing elephant hair was seized.

Forensic analysis was conducted on samples of the seized jewellery and hair. Results from the hair samples matched DNA from both an African and Asian elephant.

Jewellery containing elephant hair seized from Wembley shop. Picture: Met Police

Jewellery containing elephant hair seized from Wembley shop. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Mahalingam was interviewed under caution on May 21 2018 and charged on November 19 2019.

Det Con Sarah Bailey, of the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “There are legal requirements in relation to the import, sale and commercial use of specimens derived from protected and endangered species and these had not been complied with.

“African and Asian elephants continue to be poached and it is worrying that the derivatives of such activity may appear for sale in London.”

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