Derbyshire man jailed and has £60k seized by police after illegal ivory trading

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More than £60k has been seized from a Derbyshire man who illegally traded in ivory from elephants killed by poachers between the 1970s and 1990s.

Ngie Law, of London Road, Derby, was convicted in August 2021 of 18 different counts of buying, selling, and possessing ivory goods without a permit, and fraudulently evading duty.

The offences all took place between 2011 and 2016 and saw him make around £65,000 worth of transactions through an online selling site.

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Officers started an investigation in 2016 after UK Border Force intercepted a package to China which contained ivory.

These are some of the ivory products found at the defendant’s address.These are some of the ivory products found at the defendant’s address.
These are some of the ivory products found at the defendant’s address.

A search warrant was then carried out at Law’s address, and officers discovered a large amount of ivory goods, including unworked tusks cut from the endangered animals, cutlery and ornamentals including billiard balls, figurines, and a cigarette holder.

The 45-year-old pleaded guilty to the offences and was given a two-year jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Now, following a hearing at Derby Crown Court on Saturday 19 March, Law is subject to a confiscation order which will see him lose £61,266.97 worth of cash or assets.

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PC Emerson Buckingham of the Derbyshire Rural Crime Team led the investigation, alongside the National Wildlife Crime Unit and UK Border Force.

PC Buckingham said: “No one should profit from criminal activity, and it is perhaps particularly distressing to think how much money was handed over as a result of the suffering of animals.

“It’s surprising to think that crimes involving endangered species have taken place in Derby, and this should be a warning to anyone involved in such activity that not only may they face a sentence, but they can also be ordered to forfeit any so-called ill-gotten gains.”

Chief Inspector Kevin Kelly, head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit said: “The illegal wildlife trade is a global issue, and this is an example of an international case with reach ending on the streets of the UK. Criminals exploit our animals for their own selfish gain with little to no regard for their welfare, inflicting the worst types of cruelty to maximise monetary gain.

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“Legislation relating to wildlife crime is often complex so it’s refreshing to see that wildlife criminals are now being punished financially – this is a small step towards justice for exploited animals.

“I am grateful for the efforts of Derbyshire Police, specifically PC Buckingham, who has worked tirelessly to bring this case to justice.”

The confiscation order has been brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act (or POCA) which allows the police to apply for cash to be seized from criminals who have made their money through criminality.

It is typically used after sentence, and can see criminals forced to sell properties, cars or jewellery that belongs to them to pay off their debt. The money that is seized under POCA is split between the police and the Government and is often used to fund community projects.