A jeweller who sold jewellery made of poached elephant hair has avoided jail with a suspended sentence.
Rajtharan Mahalingam, 40, of Down Lane, Isle of Wight was found guilty at Harrow Crown Court on Tuesday(24) of seven counts of purchasing or offering to purchase, sell, keep for sale or commercially use products containing specimens derived from endangered species.
However, Mahalingam avoided jail and was sentenced to 32 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 16 months.
He was also fined £200, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work, as well as pay £1,500 costs and a surcharge of £140.
He sold rings, bracelets and a pendant at his shop in Wembley, north London.
The Met’s wildlife crime unit discovered that a shop in Wembley was selling jewellery claiming to contain elephant hair via online research in 2017.
A raid was carried out at the premises on Ealing Road in May 2018 and a large amount of jewellery containing elephant hair was seized.
Further investigation 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.
Forensic analysis on samples has revealed that the hair samples matched DNA from both an African and Asian elephant, Met police said in a statement.
According to an official statement, Mahalingam was charged on 19 November 2019.
Detective Constable 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/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.”