Great-grandmother gets tagged and curfew for selling a goldfish to 14 year old.

Posted: March 31, 2010 in Law & Disorder

A great-grandmother has been ordered to wear an electronic tag for breaching new animal welfare laws by selling a goldfish to a 14 year-old boy.

Joan Higgins, a pet shop owner, was caught selling the fish to the teenager in a ‘sting’ operation by council officials. She was then prosecuted in an eight month court process estimated to have cost the taxpayer more than £20,000.

IlieUnder new animal welfare laws, passed in 2006, it is it illegal to sell goldfish to under 16s. Offenders can be punished with up to 12 months in prison.

Mrs Higgins, 66, who thought the boy was much older than 14, escaped jail but was instead ordered to wear an electronic tag and given a night time curfew. She was also fined £1,000 by Trafford Magistrates Court, Greater Manchester.

He and his mother were caught out by a new bill passed in 2006 which makes it illegal to sell goldfish to under 16s. Just one of the 3,000 or so new laws brought in by the Labour government.

In July 2009, Trafford council sent a 14 year old boy to the shop and after Mrs Higgins failed to ask the boy for identification she and her son were summoned to court.

Mr Higgins labelled the incident “entrapment”, saying the boy looked older than 14: “The council sent the 14 year old into us – in my book that’s entrapment.”

Mr Higgins was fined £750 and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work. However, because his mother was not fit enough to do the same she was issued with a ten-week 6pm to 7am curfew instead.

A spokesman for Trafford Council said their legal costs were met by the total fines paid by Joan and Mark Higgins of £1750 but obviously not the estimated £20,000 it cost the taxpayer. Surely this is what police cautions are for.

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Comments
  1. When I saw this in the paper today I first checked the date of the paper, yes it was March 31st after all!
    How the hell are these sentences justified when many real criminals escape with far less for committing real crime?
    What has happened to common sense?

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