Jail threat for smugglers caught with £250,000 worth of carp

Two men who were involved in one of the sport’s biggest cases of illegal fish smuggling could face up to two years behind bars.

James Robert Selvey, a 30-year-old transport operator from Staines, Middlesex, and 51-year-old HGV driver Johan Anthony Boutkan, from Horsham, Sussex, originally pleaded guilty to two offences contrary to the Animal and Animal Products (Import and Export) regulations 2006 at Canterbury Crown Court back on March 21, 2011, after attempting to bring 122 live carp into the UK from France in 2010 – a crime carrying a sentence of up to 24 months.

The defendants then appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on May 23, 2011 for sentencing, but because Cefas (Fish Health Inspectorate) is ordering the guilty duo to return the monies made in carrying out the crime, Judge O’Mahoney adjourned the case until September 5, 2011 – but warned they could face a custodial sentence.

This latest progression in the case comes after the pair were originally caught at Dover docks after attempting to smuggle £250,000 worth of carp from France in February 2010.

Cefas officers  intercepted a Volvo FH12 lorry, which contained four large tanks containing carp between 25lb and 55lb. All the fish were destroyed at the scene.

Stuart Katon, Senior Fish Health Inspector for Cefas, believes that illegally imported fish brought into this country pose a very real problem which must be addressed if we are to remove the risk of spreading disease and the possible demise of many of our waters.

“This case clearly highlights the type of problem we face and it is only by working together with the angling community and our partner agencies that we will succeed in stopping this illegal trade,” said Stuart.