Court told of trap that snared rhino-horn gang

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The Independent Online
UNDERCOVER animal welfare investigators posed as buyers to trap a gang trying to sell pounds 2.8m worth of rhinoceros horn, a court was told yesterday.

The gang was recruited by a former antiques dealer serving a life sentence for murder who had collected the horns before it became illegal to sell them, King's Lynn Crown Court was told. Wilfred Bull, 63, wanted to sell the 127 horns in preparation for his release from prison and called in a friend, Carol Scotchford-Hughes, who brought in another couple, David Eley and Elaine Arscott. But Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals officers and police were tipped off after Ms Arscott, using a false name, phoned the London Stock Exchange to inquire about selling them. A number of meetings were held in which investigators posed as buyers.

The court was told that Bull, who was jailed at the Old Bailey in 1986 for the murder of his wife, contacted a legal executive, Paul Rexstrew, from his prison cell to arrange the financial transaction and launder the money. Mr Rexstrew, of Wimbledon, south-west London, denies conspiracy to sell rhino horns. Bull, Ms Scotchford-Hughes, Mr Eley and Ms Arscott have admitted the charge. The trial continues today.

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