Police officers have seized around 100 rare butterflies from a Barnsley man caught selling them on the internet.
Officers found a collection of upto 4,000 butterfly specimens, the majority of which were legally held, but 100 are thought to be endangered species and illegally imported from China, Vietnam and Costa Rica.
A 51-year-old man, from Cross Street, Barugh Green, has received a caution over the prohibited sale of protected species.
There are around 20 butterfly species which can only be legally imported into the EU if there is a valid import permit in place.
It is the importer’s responsibility to ensure that there is a permit.
Only specimens that have been legally acquired from the wild and legally imported can be traded.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: Wildlife crime officers from South Yorkshire Police and the National Wildlife Crime Unit investigating the illegal trade in endangered species of butterflies have seized around 100 endangered species of butterflies from a house in the Barnsley area.
“Officers identified a man who was trading illegally on the internet and as a result they executed a search warrant issued under the provisions of the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997.
Officers found a large collection of between 3,000 and 4,000 butterflies.
“The vast majority of the collection was quite legal but amongst the collection officers found specially protected species that had been illegally imported from China, Vietnam and Costa Rica.
“A 51-year-old man was interviewed and later cautioned for the prohibited sale of protected species.”