Man who smug­gled 35 pup­pies in van spared jail


Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Eryl Crump

A MAN who tried to smug­gle 35 pup­pies into North Wales from Ire­land has been spared jail.

Ben James Il­lidge, of Wil­son Cres­cent, North­wich, pleaded guilty to seven charges of smug­gling the pup­pies through Holy­head Port last Novem­ber. Three of the charges re­lated to an­i­mal wel­fare of­fences while the oth­ers were of a reg­u­la­tory na­ture.

The 33-year-old was handed an 18-week jail term sus­pended for a year when he ap­peared for sen­tence at Caernar­fon Mag­is­trates Court.

The plant op­er­a­tor was also or­dered to pay fines and costs to­talling £2,913 and must com­plete 200 hours of un­paid work.

Sen­tenc­ing Dis­trict Judge Gwyn Jones, sit­ting at Caernar­fon Mag­is­trates Court, said he was sat­is­fied Il­lidge had bought the an­i­mals to re­sell and stood to make a sub­stan­tial sum.

The judge said: “It is clear these pups were brought to the UK for com­mer­cial pur­poses. You did so without any re­gard for the wel­fare of the an­i­mals and the se­cu­rity of pub­lic health.

“You were fully aware this was not per­mit­ted and had hoped the au­thor­i­ties at the port would not have stopped your ve­hi­cle.

“These of­fences are so se­ri­ous im­me­di­ate cus­tody is jus­ti­fied. But it is clear that you may have been in­flu­enced by oth­ers who are not be­fore a court and you en­tered a guilty plea.”

Pros­e­cu­tor Ju­lia Long­worth said the pups were in a van which was be­ing car­ried off the ferry on a break­down truck. When of­fi­cers searched the ve­hi­cle the an­i­mals were found crowded into cages con­cealed in the rear area.

The court heard Il­lidge had bought the an­i­mals from a mar­ket in Dublin and none of the an­i­mals, which were aged six to nine weeks old, had been in­noc­u­lated or mi­crochipped.

Ms Long­worth said var­i­ous agen­cies, in­clud­ing the RSPCA, An­i­mal Health of­fi­cials and North Wales Po­lice, mounted a spe­cial op­er­a­tion at Holy­head Port on Novem­ber 15 last year as the smug­gling of an­i­mals into Bri­tain was be­com­ing ‘in­creas- in­gly prob­lem­atic’.

The of­fi­cers’ at­ten­tion was drawn to the white van on the back of a break­down truck with con­den­sa­tion on its front and side win­dows. They found 35 pups in five con­tain­ers con­cealed in the ve­hi­cle, in­clud­ing ter­ri­ers, bea­gles, pomera­ni­ans and labradors, with up to nine in each con­tainer.

Ms Long­worth said: “They were ex­am­ined by a vet and their ages ranged from six weeks to nine weeks. The ve­hi­cle was not suit­able for the trans­port of an­i­mals. There was no ven­ti­la­tion and it was too warm for the proper wel­fare of the an­i­mals.”

The court was told the an­i­mals were seized by the RSPCA and trans­ported back to Ire­land, un­der proper con­di­tions, where they were in­oc­u­lated and mi­crochipped and sub­se­quently re­housed.

The charges in­cluded bring­ing a con­sign­ment of an­i­mals into Wales without com­pleted health cer­tifi­cates and without hav­ing no­ti­fied the au­thor­i­ties of their in­tended ar­rival.

Sarah Yates, de­fend­ing, said: “He (Il­lidge) bought the pups on the mar­ket for 80-100 euro each and planned to sell them on. He main­tains the an­i­mals were only in the cages for a few hours and he con­tin­u­ally checked them dur­ing the jour­ney.”

Ben Il­lidge, left, pleaded guilty to smug­gling pup­pies through Holy­head, above

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