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The owner of an unlicensed pet shop has been fined selling tropical fish to undercover Isle of Wight Council officials.

Graham Leslie Ruthven of Tropical World, on Union Street in Ryde was refused a Pet Shop licence in February 2018 after a vet – who visited as part of the application process – raised concerns over levels of care at the store.

Time was given for improvement works to take place, however following a further inspection, standards were not improved sufficiently for a licence to be granted.

Graham Ruthven filed an appeal but withdrew it when it was agreed a vet with no prior dealings with the premises would visit to carry out an independent assessment, according to the local authority.

A vet from the mainland carried out an another inspection in July 2018, and again, it was found standards at the premises fell below those required.

Further reports were received that Mr Ruthven was continuing to sell animals, and, in October 2018, a test purchase was carried out by officers from the licensing department.

During this test purchase, an officer was sold two tropical fish.

Mr Ruthven pleaded guilty to one charge of selling animals without a licence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 on Tuesday (15). He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a victim surcharge.

Councillor Tig Outlaw, the Island’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection, said:

“The licensing section will always work with all applicants and licence holders to ensure they achieve the required standards — in most cases this ensures compliance is achieved.

“In this case, however, all avenues had been exhausted and officers were left with no alternative but to take enforcement action to preserve the welfare of the animals.”