Woman cautioned after illegal ivory, tiger claws and whale teeth found in her home (England)


Bethany Lodge, Gazette Live

Date Published
See link for photos.
The woman, who lives at Roseberry View was found to have claws, whale teeth and elephant tusks in her home.

The discovery was made by the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) and Cleveland Police in April last year.

A caution was issued to the woman and all items were given to Cleveland Police for disposal.

She admitted she knew the sales of claws was illegal, but said she did not fully understand the laws surrounding the trade of animal artifacts.

She did admit to having two carved elephant ivory tusks and two sperm whale teeth. It is illegal to trade these items unless there is an exemption certificate, the items are antique, or they are considered “worked”.

To be considered ‘worked’, the item must have been significantly altered from its original state and made into something else, i.e. art, jewellery, or a musical instrument.

Any carving must have taken place prior to March 3, 1947.

The tiger claws had been removed from an antique tiger rug.

Records for the rug showed it was worked and had been made in 1937, but the claws were still considered to be prohibited.

She accepted that she had bought un-worked sperm whale teeth, which did not come with permits.

She also said that she had purchased the carved tusks and, although they were carved and worked, she accepted that they were unlikely to have been pre-1947.

The woman was caught after officers spotted a seller on auction site eBay who appeared to be advertising tiger claws without the correct permit.

The maximum sentence an offender can receive for selling illegal ivory is five years in prison and an unlimited fine.

A caution was given to the Thornaby woman due to her previous good character.

A spokeswoman from Cleveland Police said: “A warrant was executed on April 18, 2016 at an address at Roseberry View in Thornaby.

“A 56-year-old woman received a caution for the prohibited sale of a specimen covered by the control of trade in endangered species regulations.”