Woman sentenced in tiger skin rugs case

Woman sentenced in tiger skin rugs case

A 31-year-old woman has been sentenced over trading of tiger skins, Scotland Yard said.

Dovile Vaitkeviciute, of Trinity Avenue, Nottingham, was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, during a hearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court.

She was also fined £685 and ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to trading in endangered species offences and making a false statement to obtain a certificate permitting the sale of a tiger skin.

Police found Vaitkeviciute had put two tiger skin rugs up for sale without having the correct certification.

A "Javan" tiger skin rug was spotted on an online auction site by officers from the Metropolitan Police's Wildlife Crime Unit, who seized it from Vaitkeviciute's home in Haringey in May 2014.

Animal rugs are classed as antiques if the creature was killed prior to 1947.

Antique rugs do not require a certificate to be sold, but carbon-dating techniques revealed the tiger which made the "Javan" rug had been killed in the late 1970s.

During the investigation, Vaitkeviciute offered another skin rug for sale online, claiming it was a "Bali" tiger. She said it had been given to her as a gift and had been made before 1947.

But detectives discovered Vaitkeviciute had paid £2,500 for the skin and had provided false information to authorities to get a certificate to sell it.

Woman sentenced in tiger skin rugs case

It was also ruled that the tiger had been killed after 1947.

Detective Constable Sarah Bailey, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "There are guidelines for dealers in endangered species and in some cases it is clear that the dealers are aware of the regulations but take the decision to disregard them for financial gain.

"The Met's Wildlife Crime Unit applied for funding from the Defra/Partnership Against Wildlife Crime Forensic Analysis Fund.

"Without the advantage of this funding, many wildlife cases that make use of forensic analysis would fail to reach prosecution."

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