Grandmother arrested for 'selling tortoises illegally'

A Jewish grandmother has been arrested for allegedly selling tortoises illegally from her pet guest house in Essex.

Tracy Cooper, 43, was shocked when she woke one morning last month to discover six police officers, three police jeeps and a warrant for her arrest.

She runs a pet boarding house in Epping which currently houses 23 tortoises, 14 parrots, 10 canaries, nine rabbits, eight cats and two ferrets.

But she has been accused of selling tortoises without the required government documentation.

She said: “I came downstairs one morning to let the dogs out. I suddenly saw all these police wearing bullet proof jackets. I had no idea why they were there. When they started explaining it, the shock nearly killed me.

“You don’t expect to walk out in your pyjamas minding your own business and then have your house searched. I was so humiliated.”

Ms Cooper is currently on bail while Essex police investigate a possible breach of the rules on the trade of endangered species.

Last updated: 5:28pm, November 12 2009