Worst … ? exposes illegal trade in wild animals
19 February, BBC ONE, 8.00pm
A BBC undercover
journalist has been sold a lioness from a pet shop owner while investigating
the country's worst pet shops.
Worst … Pet Shops? will show secret footage of the
journalist, who was posing as a member of the public, arranging
the sale through Steve Haswell, owner of the Fish Centre in Enfield.
his second visit to the pet shop the journalist was offered the
lioness for just £700. In order to own a dangerous wild animal
in the UK a licence must be obtained but at no point did Haswell
ask to see the necessary paperwork.
the journalist travelled to Basildon Zoo, which has been closed
since last year, to pick up the lioness, named Carla. After paying
a further £800 Carla was moved into a cage in the journalist's
Surcouf, the owner of the zoo, also offered the journalist other
wild animals including leopards and wildcats. She showed no regard
for Carla's future, even saying: "I don't care if you chop
her up for steaks".
vet hinted that this was not the first sale that she had been called
in to assist with, boasting that she was an "expert in cover-up
jobs" and that there would be "no paperwork".
luckily for Carla the team had obtained the necessary paperwork
and a special cage which is suitable for moving wild animals. The
journalist drove the van to a service station where a vet checked
that Carla was fit to travel and was taken to West Midlands Safari
The ending is
not only a happy one but also surprising for both the production
team and the West Midlands Safari park keeper Bob Lawrence. Lawrence
had hand-reared Carla, whose real name is Rosie, before she was
sold to Basildon Zoo and was delighted to be reunited with her.
are available, for media use only, via the BBC Press Office.
Worst … Pet Shop? is the first programme in the second series
of UK's Worst …?, an investigative programme that exposes
the worst in bad service across the UK.
series is presented by Nick Knowles and Rianna Scipio.
information about UK's Worst ...? as well as useful consumer advice
can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog.
BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview,
the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well
as on satellite and cable.
offers the BBC's eight television channels - including BBC THREE
- as well as six BBC radio networks.