Protected tortoises seized in Turre house

First criminal prosecution since change in law bans keeping specimens as pets

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A police officer lines up the tortoises that were seized inside the property in Turre

By Richard Torné

Junta police acting on a tip-off have seized 16 protected spur-thighed tortoises from a house on the outskirts of Turre.

Police said the individual – a Spanish national – has been charged with environmental crimes as he lacked a permit to keep the animals.

The tortoises, which were all being kept in the man’s front garden, were taken to the ‘Las Almohallas’ endangered species centre in Vélez Blanco, according to a Junta statement.

It is the first criminal prosecution since the law was changed last July banning the public from keeping spur-thighed tortoises, which have been classified as ‘vulnerable’ under the IUCN red list of threatened species, and in ‘danger of extinction’ in Andalucía.

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