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Police search for stolen snakes

Police in Southwark are warning members of the public to be on the alert for anyone offering to sell exotic reptiles outside licensed dealers.

It follows the theft of 18 snakes and eight Geckos from a residential address in Bermondsey on Thursday 22 January.

The owner told police he discovered they had been taken from his purpose built shed when he went to feed them in the evening.

The following day, officers were alerted by a member of staff at a pet shop in Southwark Park Road. He said a man entered the shop offering to sell snakes. The member of staff recognised two of them as they had been originally supplied by that shop.

The 16 snakes still not located include four Western Hognose snakes which are venomous – they are described as tan coloured with brown spots and black and orange striped belly markings, about 24 inches long, stout bodied and with a distinctive upturned snout which gives them their name.

DC Bernie Cook of Walworth Burglary Squad said: “We are aware of a legitimate trade in reptiles but we do need information from any members of the public who have been approached in the last week by apparently unlicensed persons to buy snakes.

“This is a very serious crime. The retail value of the snakes stolen was over 2,000. There is also an issue about the welfare of the snakes and how they are being looked after. They are from sub tropical regions and need specialist care.

“I cannot stress strongly enough that, in the wrong hands, these snakes could be extremely dangerous.

“Anyone with any information should call us on 020 7232 6262 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous.”


• A 58 year old man from the Elephant & Castle was arrested in connection with the theft and has been bailed to return next month pending further enquiries.

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