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Sidcup man fined after police discover two alligators in his bedroom
James Charlton of Pembury Crescent admitted two counts of possessing a dangerous wild animal without a licence
A 29-YEAR-OLD man from Sidcup has been fined £200 after police found two alligators in his bedroom.
James Charlton of Pembury Crescent admitted two counts of possessing a dangerous wild animal without a licence at Bexley Magistrates’ Court on February 7.
The court heard on January 21, police were called to Charlton’s address following reports from neighbours he was keeping crocodiles in his home.
When officers confronted Charlton, he invited them in and there they discovered two 12-inch long spectacled caimans in an aquarium in his bedroom.
Both reptiles have the potential to grow up to 8ft in length.
Charlton was arrested and in a police interview, admitted he did not possess a license for the alligators.
The court heard Charlton bought the alligators over the internet for £400 each.
They are now being kept at Brighton Rescue Reptile Centre and will be used for educational purposes for visiting school children.
Defending Charlton, James McCooey said: "Mr Charlton has never had alligators before.
"He saw them on the internet and was assured they were dwarf alligators and took that person at his word.
"He would have been in for a shock if they had stayed around long enough and they had grown.
"It was to his benefit that it was nipped in the bud.
"He has kept reptiles in the past but he made a mistake with these.
"It seems like a weird thing to do but there is no indication he has ever mistreated reptile species."
As well as being fined £200, Charlton was ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs, £110 RSPCA costs and a £15 surcharge, bringing it up to a total of £410.
He was also banned from owning wild, dangerous animals for five years.
Bexley Police's wildlife officer, PC John Horton said: "This case should hopefully deter other people considering keeping dangerous wild animals in their home.
"While the caimens were quite small and appeared to be about six months old they will grow to over eight feet."