A Deptford trader who sold sex pills made from seahorses for Viagra-style effects has been penalised by magistrates.

Keen-eyed Detective Constable Louise Morris, of the Met's Wildlife Crime Unit, was walking through the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre on her way to work last year when she spotted 46-year-old Mongolian national Lu Yao's stall and some suspcious products for sale.

The following month DC Collins and her colleagues raided Yao's Deptford High Street shop and stall, seizing 100 pills.

Ingredients of the products were translated from Chinese and it was discovered that the pills contained extracts of seahorse, which is protected under the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).

Yao was summonsed to appear at Bromley Magistrates' Court on September 2, where she pleaded guilty to five counts of purchasing or offering to purchase, sell or keep for sale species protected under CITES.

She was handed a £200 fine for each product, £85 prosecution costs and a £100 victim surcharge - a total of £1,185.

DC Bailey said: "Most traditional Chinese medicines are generally legal, but Yao's contained extracts of a protected species. 

"The illegal trade in endangered species threatens the existence of some of our most iconic and well-loved animals and plants. 

"We continue to work closely with the Chinese medicine industry to tackle this issue. I also urge anyone who has suspicions about products they have seen on sale to contact the police."

Alyx Elliott, Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection, said: "This case emphasises the sheer diversity of wildlife crime in the UK and London, and also the continuing threat it poses. 

"In this regard the public can play a key role supporting the Wildlife Crime Unit's huge efforts to tackle the trade by similarly reporting to report anything suspicious that they might see for sale to their local force."