Coventry taxidermist admits importing rare animal parts

Police found this room full of skulls at Alan Dudley's house

Police found a room full of skulls at Alan Dudley's house

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A taxidermist has pleaded guilty to a string of offences involving the selling and importing of protected species.

Alan Dudley, 52, of Coventry, admitted seven charges including breaking a ban on imported goods, such as a loggerhead turtle skull.

He denied a charge of keeping banned specimens for sale - including a tiger corpse - which prosecutors accepted.

Dudley is due to be sentenced at Coventry Crown Court on 20 August.

His barrister, Timothy Green, told the court Dudley had not acted for profit.

"Alan Dudley may have an unusual interest in taxidermy and zoology - it is one he has followed all his life."

'New depths'

Dudley admitted a charge of buying specimens of endangered species, including a goshawk and a long-eared owl skull.

He also pleaded guilty to charges of breaking the imported goods ban in relation to a monkey and charges of offering a marmoset and Humboldt penguin for sale.

He also admitted offering to buy a fur seal skull.

Alan Roberts, of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, said there is a link between an internet market for endangered wildlife and a threat to species in the wild.

"It was quite clear that this was a compulsion and that Dudley had overstepped the line, stooping to new depths to feed his obsession."

West Midlands Police said Dudley's house was raided in March 2008 when a large collection of skulls and taxidermy was found.

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