Vic man fined over exotic reptile trade

Georgie Moore
Vic man fined for exotic reptile trade

The discovery of live Australian lizards hidden inside a speaker in Italy has led to the conviction of a Victorian man for exporting and importing reptiles.

Gisborne man Craig James Pender has been fined $2000 for illegally possessing, importing and exporting reptiles after a joint federal and Victorian environmental department investigation.

It was sparked by the discovery of five blue-tongued lizards, four spiny-tailed skinks and four shingleback lizards in a FedEx parcel in Milan in 2013, the federal Environment Department said on Monday.

The reptiles were stuffed inside socks hidden in an audio speaker.

Three hog-nosed snakes were later found in a raid on Pender's property.

Investigators also linked Pender to Norwegian man Bard Alexander Meringen, who has since been charged with wildlife crimes.

More than 200 live reptiles were allegedly seized from Meringen's house in Norway.

Pender was convicted and fined $2000 in the Kyneton Magistrates' Court on July 4.