highlights rhino horn smuggling
THE Merseyside Maritime
Museum is to highlight the growing illegal trade in rhinoceros horn.
The White Rhino is an endangered species, but criminals can make
thousands of pounds by removing horns and grinding them down for use
in traditional medicines in parts of Asia.
Seized! The Border and Customs uncovered is the National Museum of
the UK Border Agency located in the basement of the Merseyside
Maritime Museum at Albert Dock.
It will tell the story of a set of horns which were intercepted by
Border Agency officers at Manchester Airport.
But in an unusual step, the museum will not be displaying the real
rhino horns. It was decided there was too great a risk that a
criminal gang could try to steal them and sell them into the
lucrative Chinese medicine market.
In the last 12 months there have been more than 20 thefts of rhino
horns from museums and auction houses across the UK and Europe.
Before Christmas a gang struck at the Museum of Hunting and Nature
in Paris and used gas to stun staff before making off with a rhino
The museum has therefore taken the decision to exhibit replicas on
Karen Bradbury, curator of Seized! The Border and Customs uncovered
gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum said:- "One of the
museumís key themes is anti-smuggling and fighting crime. We believe
itís important to highlight this growing area of criminal activity.
White Rhino is critically endangered and rhino horn has a rising
illegal commercial value as itís used in traditional medicines in
China and Asia. Itís unusual for a museum to not put something on
show. But there are very real fears about the museum becoming a
target for criminals. We are therefore heeding advice to not put
real horns on gallery."
The new display at the museum will tell the story of how UK Border
Agency officers at Manchester Airport foiled a plot to smuggle the
horns to China in 2010 after they were found concealed inside a
purpose built sculpture.
An intensive investigation revealed the horns had been removed from
a rhino called Simba who had died from natural causes at Colchester
The Zoo had legally disposed of Simbaís body for cremation to ensure
no part of its body could be illegally traded. But the horns were
removed and passed to an antique dealer who was caught by the UK
Border Agency at the airport and later jailed for 12 months.
Marc Granville of UKBA border crime team said:- "Preventing
these horns from being smuggled out of the UK was a major success
and an important step in the work of the UK Border Agency in
countering this criminal trade which exploits endangered species
merely for profit. Had this plot been successful it would have fed
demand for rare and exotic animals on the illegal world market and
led to the further attempts at unscrupulous exploitation of
endangered animals. Given the high price for rhino horns we do not
want to risk it being stolen back into the illegal market as we have
seen with other rhino horns around Europe. That is why we have taken
the unusual decision to keep the horns safely under lock and key
rather than being housed in any public display."
Rachael Krueger, Merseyside Police, said:- "Police Forces in
the UK are always vigilant of the illegal trade in endangered
species. Merseyside Police welcomes this display which brings to
public attention this type of crime which is often perpetrated by
organised criminals. This display serves as an excellent example of
a pro-active investigation. The UK Border Agency is to be
congratulated on the recovery of this specimen and the subsequent
successful conviction in this case."
More details at:-
POLICE E-CRIME HUBS TO TACKLE THREAT OF CYBER CRIME
THE UK police capability to
tackle the growing threat of cyber crime was strengthened today with
the announcement of 3 regional policing e-crime hubs.
The new hubs, in Yorkshire and the Humber, the Northwest and in East
Midlands, will be launched at the ACPO e-crime conference in
Sheffield today. Cyber crime has been identified in the National
Security Risk Assessment as a Ďtier oneí threat alongside
international terrorism, an international military crisis, and a
major accident or natural hazard requiring a national response.
To meet the threat, the government has granted £30m over four years
to improve national capability to investigate and combat cyber
The three new units will work alongside the Metropolitan Police
Centre e-crime Unit (PCeU) which was established in October 2008 as
part of the National e-Crime Programme.
ACPO lead on e-crime Deputy Assistant Commissioner Janet Williams
said:- "The Government has acknowledged a need to collaborate
and provide a structured response to the cyber security of the UK
and these three additional policing units are going to play a
critical role in our ability to combat the threat. It is anticipated
the hubs will make a significant contribution to the national harm
reduction target of £504m. In the first 6 months of the new funding
period alone we have already been able to show a reduction of £140m
with our existing capability. While a training period is required
before the hubs are fully functional they will undoubtedly provide
an enhanced ability to investigate this fast growing area of crime
and provide an improved internet investigation capability."
James Brokenshire Minister for Crime and Security said:-
"Cyber crime is a threat locally and nationally, and every police
force in the country has to deal with its impact on people and
businesses in their area. As well as leading the fight in their
regions, these units mark a significant step forward in developing a
national response to cyber crime, which will be driven by the new
National Crime Agency. The government has committed £650million in
the fight against e-crime."
Regional e-crime co-ordinator, East Midlands Deputy Chief Constable
Peter Goodman said:- "There is no doubt that the proliferation
of the internet has brought significant benefits to all across
society, but unfortunately that also includes those who have
criminal intent. We know that increasingly criminal networks are
seeking to exploit cyber space for profit and we have a duty as
police leaders to respond to protect individuals and communities."
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Ward of Merseyside Police, chair of
the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, said:- "Cyber
crime is not restricted by boundaries and its effects are far
reaching. The launch of the three hubs, working alongside the
Metropolitan Police and our partners, shows our commitment to
investigating high-tech crimes including cyber-based terrorism,
significant cyber frauds and other serious internet-based
criminality. By working together, joining expertise and resources,
we are dedicated to gathering and sharing intelligence to ultimately
find those responsible for these crimes and bring them to justice."
DCC Mark Whyman, Head of Regional Collaboration, Policing Yorkshire
and the Humber said:- "I am delighted that Yorkshire and the
Humber has been selected as one of the three national e-crime hubs.
This validates even further the collaboration that already exists
between the four forces and Police Authorities of the region. I am
pleased that we can play a leading role in developing a national
capability in this way and, by using our local expertise to tackle
what is a rapidly growing crime problem for our communities and the
economy, we can yet again place our region at the forefront of