Open up sir and make it snappy! Police discover four crocodiles living in bedroom on routine visit to semi-detached house


Worrying find: Police discovered four West African dwarf crocodiles including this one at the home in Croydon, South London

Police officers visiting a semi-detached house were left stunned when they discovered four crocodiles in a bedroom.

The West African dwarf crocodiles were crammed into makeshift tanks of the home's spare bedroom in Waddon, Croydon, South London.

Officers who were sent to the suburban home on an unrelated matter made the shocking discovery of the reptiles which can take a man's arm off, and called council licensing officers who seized them.

The largest, which measured more than four feet, was in such a bad condition, it died soon after being transferred.

Three of the females measured four feet and were found living in cramped and dirty pond liners.

Moved: The animals were seized, and though one died shortly afterwards the remaining three are living in better conditions at an animal park

The owner of the protected animals did not have a licence for them and is expected to be charged with four counts under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and faces a substantial fine.

It is understood he bought the four female crocodiles from a supplier in this country, although it is not known how they were smuggled into Britain.

The animals have since been transferred to Birdworld in Surrey where they are being fed on white mice and are happily sharing a large pond with terrapin turtles.

The protected animals were rescued by council licensing officers in January and specialists from the City of London veterinary service and were taken to a quarantine facility at Heathrow Airport.

Rescued: One of the female reptiles moments after it was saved by council officers

There is a burgeoning illegal trade in the animals in Europe. They come from West Africa where their numbers are dwindling because they are hunted for bushmeat.

Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: 'This was certainly an unusual find, but it draws attention to the fact that people must follow the rules if they want to own these sorts of pets.

'Not only are there potential risks to the owner and their family, but these animals usually need very specific conditions to be kept healthy.

'This needs a lot of thought and planning. Anyone considering getting something out of the ordinary needs to check the schedule from the Dangerous Wild Animals Act before going any further.'

source: dailymail