More than £60k seized from Derby man who traded in illegal ivory from endangered animals

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

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

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

Officers discovered a large amount of ivory goods, including unworked tusks cut from the endangered animals Credit: Derbyshire Police

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

A search warrant was then carried out at the 44-year-old's address on London Road, Derby.

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.

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

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.

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 that 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."

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

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.

A spokesperson for Border Force said: "The illegal wildlife trade in endangered species is driven by organised crime groups and the movement across borders of protected plants and animals is key to how they operate.

"Our specialist Border Force officers remain committed to clamping down on the illegal wildlife trade and work tirelessly across the UK."

"They will continue their vital work at the border to prevent the importation, transhipment and exportation of endangered animals and plants, as well as working alongside other enforcement partners such as the National Wildlife Crime Unit and police from across the UK to eradicate this ruthless and exploitative trade."