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Northfleet dealer Mark Freed banned from keeping aquatic animals for 10 years
AN ONLINE fish salesman who “posted” fish and terrapins has been banned from keeping or trading aquatic animals for ten years.
Mark Freed, of Salem Place in Northfleet, was disqualified from keeping the animals at Dartford Magistrates’ Court today (April 24).
The unemployed 28-year-old was also handed a 12-month community order and must carry out 60 hours unpaid work, pay £250 costs and RSPCA vets costs of £750.
Last month, he and Mustafas Bodour, 24, formerly of Bean Road in Greenhithe, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to terrapins and axolotls, a type of Salamander, by couriering them in unsuitable containers.
Freed also admitted an additional charge of not taking reasonable steps to ensure the wellbeing of Siamese fighting fish, found in a plastic bag in a fish tank.
The RSPCA were initially contacted by courier City Link who said they had intercepted a package sent from Freed and Bodour’s address containing two terrapins.
Prosecutor Andrew Wiles said: “They were in a clear plastic bag with what appeared to be something like a log inside.
“The box in which they were contained, apart from being labelled fragile, had nothing else on it in terms of labelling that would have indicated it contained live animals.”
When questioned about the labelling, Freed “expressed some surprise there was a problem,” saying he had sent out 150 other packages in this way. Axolotls were later found in a separate package that came to the courier’s attention after a bag containing them burst, causing the box to disintegrate.
Speaking in mitigation, Deborah Slater said Freed had been taught “a bitter but very sadly true lesson,” adding he “had no intention of causing any harm of distress” to the animals.
Judge Robert Chapman described the offences as “very serious,” saying they were “emotive matters to a lot of people.”
At the previous hearing, Bodour was given a conditional discharge, ordered to pay £3,130 costs and also disqualified for keeping aquatic animals for a decade.