A man has been jailed for 14 months for trying to sell rhino horns and elephant tusks from his Watford home.
Endangered animal parts worth up to £2 million were discovered by specially trained search dogs when police raided the Hertfordshire home of Abbas Allawi.
The 52-year-old was arrested after officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit raided his home in Gisburne Way, Watford, on October 19 last year.
Harrow Crown Court heard how three rhino horns, two elephant tusks and four hippopotamus teeth were seized after being found in his attic by search dogs trained to identify the scent of rhino horn.
Allawi had been illegally trying to sell them for ‘cash only’ on Instagram at £60,000 per kilogramme, which could have netted him up to £2 million.
He was jailed for 14 months after being convicted of six wildlife offences involving the illegal purchase of endangered animal parts, and keeping or offering them for sale, Scotland Yard confirmed.
Detective Constable Christopher Jones said: ‘Some rhinoceros populations are critically endangered. A world without iconic species such as rhinos and elephants would be a sad place.
‘Police are the last line of defence for some of these beautiful creatures. We will seek to prosecute anyone found to be trading illegally.’
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The Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 makes it illegal to sell endangered species and their parts in the UK, including unworked rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory.
Peter Nugent, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘Allawi stood to make significant sums trading in ivory and tusks despite knowing it was illegal.
‘He tried to claim ignorance of the law but the prosecution case was able to show through his messages to potential buyers that he knew full well he was trading in what he described as “banned things”.’