A man from Burnley who admitted trading in a variety of endangered species has today (Monday, December 7) been sentenced at Burnley Crown Court.
Aaron Halstead, 24, of Glen View Road, Burnley, was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison after he pleaded guilty to three offences of purchasing an endangered species, including whale teeth, a cheetah skull and a dolphin skull and one offence of offering a snowy owl for sale without a valid permit.
He pleaded not guilty to the purchase of four leopard skins, which the prosecution accepted. The trial judge requested the skins be seized by Lancashire Police and the charges lie on file.
In October 2014 Wildlife Crime Officers from Lancashire Police, along with officers from the National Wildlife Crime Unit, executed a search warrant at Halstead’s home address and recovered the items. Following an investigation, it was established that they had been purchased in contravention of the Control in Trade of Endangered Species regulations.
The species are included in Annex ‘A’ of the regulations which means that the trade of these items is strictly controlled.
Wildlife Officer PC Nigel Keates said: “This was certainly an unusual case and very different from the type of wildlife crime we’re used to dealing with here in Lancashire.
“Our investigation revealed that Halstead was involved in the illegal trade of endangered species, most of which he did online.
“He has shown a flagrant disregard for the regulations in place surrounding the buying and selling of endangered species and today he has been sentenced accordingly for flouting these rules.”