Maharaj Sivasundram, 40, advertised the sale of gold jewelery at a store in Wembley, north-west London, which was searched by police who found the transport illegal
Image: Met Police)
A jewelry scammer has been found guilty of selling gold bracelets and baby bracelets made from African elephant hair.
The jewels, made from parts of the endangered species, were on sale at a store in Wembley, north-west London.
Maharaj Sivasundram, 40, was convicted on Friday of attempting to sell the illegal jewelery and fined £8,400.
It comes after police discovered a collection of gold rings and bracelets containing mysterious black fibers and baby bracelets labeled as ‘elephant hair’ for sale.
DC Sarah Bailey, of the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit, said: ‘There are legal requirements surrounding the sale of specimens from protected or endangered species, requirements which had not been respected in this case.
“African elephants continue to be poached, an activity that partners around the world are trying to prevent, so it is extremely worrying that illegal elephant products are being offered for sale in London.”
The Metropolitan Police discovered the store in 2017 and launched an investigation.
Detectives investigated whether the workers had ever legally imported elephant hair jewelry, but no permits were ever issued.
The following year, officers searched the store and found the gold jewelry containing black fibers.
Sivasundram, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, was not arrested at the time but was later questioned on bail.
The fibers were examined by forensic scientists from the Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture Lab and found African DNA.
Sivasundram was found guilty of seven counts of offering for sale products containing specimens of endangered species.
As well as the fine, he was also ordered to pay £3,500 in costs and an additional £170 at Harrow Crown Court.
DC Bailey added: “We will continue to identify and prosecute those who profit in London from the illegal trade in endangered species from around the world.”
African elephants are the largest animals in the world and grow throughout their lives.
The giant beasts roam 37 countries in Africa and are easily spotted by their trunks which they use to communicate and pick up items.
African elephants were historically treated as one species, but this actually includes two separate species called forest and savannah.
The African forest elephant has gone from “vulnerable” to “critically endangered” after its population plummeted by more than 86% in three decades.
Meanwhile, the African savannah elephant has been listed as “endangered” in response to a population decline of at least 60% over the past 50 years.
The unprecedented decision was made by the International Union for the Conversation on the Red List of Threatened Species.
According to current estimates, there are about 415,000 elephants left in Africa for both species.