Man guilty of selling jewellery containing endangered elephant hair in Wembley

·1-min read
One of the items recovered by officers (Met Police)
One of the items recovered by officers (Met Police)

A man has been convicted of illegally selling gold jewellery containing hair from African elephants in a shop in Wembley.

Maharaj Sivasundram, 40, from Bushey, was found guilty at Harrow Crown Court of seven counts of offering the sale of products containing specimens derived from endangered species.

In 2017, detectives launched an investigation after a shop in Wembley began advertising gold jewellery, including rings and bangles, containing elephant hair.

Police carried out enquiries to find out whether the store had ever legally imported elephant hair jewellery.

It later discovered that the property had not been issued a permit to carry out such activity.

In May 2018, a large quantity of gold jewellery containing black fibres was seized following a search operation.

Sivasundram was later interviewed under caution.

Forensic tests conducted by the Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) Laboratory on samples of the jewellery detected DNA from African elephants.

Baby bangles offered for sale at the venue were labelled as ‘elephant hair’.

Detective Constable Sarah Bailey, from the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “There are legal requirements surrounding the sale of specimens derived from protected or endangered species, requirements which had not been met in this case”.

“African elephants continue to be poached, activity which partners globally are trying to prevent, so it is incredibly worrying that illegal derivatives from elephants have appeared for sale in London”.

“We will continue to identify and prosecute those profiting in London from the illegal trade of endangered species from around the world.”

Sivasundram was fined £8,400 in addition to costs of £3,500 and a surcharge of £170.

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