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Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 16065, tabled on 10 November 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many CITES prosecutions have been brought in each of the last 10 years.

Answered on

17 November 2015

Defra does not hold information on prosecutions brought under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations 1997 (COTES) which specify offences and penalties in the UK in respect of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The Ministry of Justice has provided information on the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates’ courts for offences under COTES, in England and Wales, from 2006 to 2014, in the table below.

Some of these offences are recorded under a miscellaneous offence grouping, which it is only possible to analyse separately from centrally-held data from 2006 to 2008 and then 2011 onwards. The information required to split this miscellaneous grouping at offence level for 2004 to 2005 and from 2009 to 2010 (these latter two years are due to data processing issues) is held in individual court files, which can only be inspected at disproportionate cost.

Defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations 1997, England and Wales, 2006 to 2014 (1) (2)



2008 (3)
















(Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice.)

Offences relating to the illegal import and export of CITES-controlled species identified by Border Force may be prosecuted under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, which is the responsibility of the Home Office.

'#' - Prosecution data is not separately identifiable for these years.

(1) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed.

(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

(3) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates' court for April, July and August 2008.