A man has been found guilty of selling jewellery containing elephant hair from a shop in Wembley in London.

Harrow Crown Court heard this week that Rajtharan Mahalingam was discovered by the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit to be selling jewellery he claimed contained elephant hair.

Forensic analysis was conducted on samples of the seized jewellery and hair, which were seized in 2017. Results from the hair samples matched DNA from both an African and Asian elephant.

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On the same day he was sentenced on seven counts, including purchase of, offer to purchase, selling, keeping for sale and commercial use of products containing specimens derived from endangered species.

This came under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997.

He was sentenced to: 32 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 16 months; all jewellery items containing elephant hair forfeited; 200 hours unpaid work; a £200 fine; and £1,500 costs, with a surcharge of £140.

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.”