§ Mr. Mather
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the extent of suspected illegally imported (a) wild animals (b) wild animal skins (c) wild animal hair (d) wild birds (e) plumage and (f) whale products, which were reported to Customs and Excise in 1972, 1973 and 1974, respectively; whether every case was investigated; how many prosecutions resulted; how many prosecutions were successful; and how many forfeitures were made by Customs officers and by the courts.
§ Mr. Robert Sheldon
As far as can be ascertained in the time available, the number of suspected irregularities reported to Customs from non-official sources during the years 1972 to 1974 was as follows:
- (a) wild animals—2 in 1974.
- (b) wild animal skins—none.
- (c) wild animal (vicuna) hair—1 in 1972.
- (d) wild birds—4 in 1974.
- (e) plumage—none.
- (f) whale products—none.
Each of these allegations was investigated. Prosecution resulted in one case, the defendant being fined, and two seizures were made by Customs officers.
During the years in question three further successful prosecutions were taken, and 23 seizures made, by Customs as a result of action which they initiated themselves.