A man from Cheshire has been handed a suspended sentence by Magistrates after he was caught smuggling puppies through Holyhead Port.
Ben James Illidge, 34 from Northwich, was sentenced at Caernarfon Magistrates’ Court today, Thursday 13 July, having previously pleaded guilty to a series of charges.
Illidge was caught in November 2016 attempting smuggle 35 puppies through Holyhead Port in what the RSPCA described as “hugely inappropriate conditions”.
He was identified as part of Operation Delphin, a multi-agency operation tackling the scourge of the undercover dog trade, led by the RSPCA.
The pups were travelling in very poor conditions, without ventilation at night, the RSPCA said Illidge sought to make a “quick buck” by “subjecting innocent, defenceless puppies to misery”.
He was today sentenced to three 18-week prison sentences, which will run concurrently, and are suspended for a one-year period.
He was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work, handed four £400 fines totalling £1,600 and told to pay costs of £1198.98 and a £115 victim surcharge.
Ian Briggs, chief inspector of the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said:
This prosecution makes an important statement that agencies will not stand-by while unscrupulous puppy dealers seek to make a quick buck while subjecting innocent, defenceless puppies to misery.
Fortunately, working together, we were able to intercept this illegal consignment of pups, who were being carted into Wales in the dead of night in deeply inappropriate conditions.
The RSPCA was pleased to work so closely with a number of key agencies in seeking to tackle the scourge of illegal puppy smuggling via Holyhead Port. We will continue to fight this criminality, and protect the animals involved.
Sadly, many well-meaning, but unsuspecting new owners are buying pups who have been imported in such shocking conditions, which merely fuels those seeking to treat the lives of young animals as a means to raking in murky profits.
The puppies were intercepted following an intelligence-led move, as part of the RSPCA’s wider work with Border Force; Local Authorities, including Isle of Anglesey County Council and Pembrokeshire County Council; the DSPCA; ISPCA; SSPCA; USPCA; veterinary surgeons; the Police; HMRC; Welsh Government; APHA; and other agencies.