Burnley taxidermist facing ‘endangered species’ charges

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.
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A taxidermist has appeared in court accused of 10 allegations of buying and selling endangered species.

Aaron William Halstead (24) faces allegations brought under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997, after a raid on his Burnley home by police and wildlife officers, the town’s magistrates heard.

Halstead, of New Copy Barn, Glen View Road, is accused of two counts of the prohibited offering for sale of a specimen, alleging that on July 19 last year, at Burnley, he offered a leopard specimen for sale and that on or about October 1 last year, also at Burnley, he offered a snowy owl specimen for sale.

The defendant faces six allegations of purchasing or offering to purchase, or sell, or keep for sale, specimens of endangered species.

It was alleged that on or about July 1, 2013 at Burnley/Whitley Bay, he purchased a snowy owl specimen, that on or about March 7, 2013 at Burnley/Penzance, he bought three sperm whale teeth, that on or about March 4 last year, at Burnley/Bridgnorth, Shropshire, he bought four leopard skins and that on or about March 7, 2013 at Burnley/Penzance, he bought jaguar, cheetah and dolphin specimens.

Halstead is also accused of two allegations of prohibited sale of a specimen covered by the control of trade in endangered species regulations, in that on or between March 7, 2013 and October 23, last year, at Swinderby, Lincolnshire, he sold three sperm whale teeth and a dolphin/porpoise skull.

Prosecutor Miss Parveen Akhtar described the case as “out of the ordinary” and said she had never come across any alleged offences like them.

She said wildlife officers and Lancashire a police executed a warrant at the defendant’s home address. Miss Akhtar alleged: “Officers seized a number of taxidermy specimens that this gentlemen was offering for sale.”

Halstead, represented by Mr Daniel Frazer, did not indicate any pleas to the allegations.

The bench decided the case should be heard at Burnley Crown Court and the defendant was unconditionally bailed until a preliminary hearing there on September 21.