April 2, 2010
Joan Higgins, a pet shop owner, was caught selling the fish to the teenager in a ‘sting’ operation by council officials. She was then prosecuted in an eight month court process estimated to have cost the taxpayer more than £20,000.
Under new animal welfare laws, passed in 2006, it is it illegal to sell goldfish to under 16s. Offenders can be punished with up to 12 months in prison.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Mrs Higgins, 66, who thought the boy was much older than 14, escaped jail but was instead ordered to wear an electronic tag and given a night time curfew. She was also fined £1,000 by Trafford Magistrates Court.
In July 2009, Trafford council sent a 14 year old boy to the shop and after Mrs Higgins failed to ask the boy for identification she and her son were summoned to court. “The council sent the 14 year old into us – in my book that’s entrapment,” Mr Higgins stated.