A creative art form, a quirky piece of home furnishing or just a morbid hobby; whatever your views on taxidermy, it turns out skinning a dead animal and stuffing it is a very lucrative business, so much so that one man risked jail to steal 18 exotic momento mori collectively worth more than £100,000.
The dead menagerie belonged to a licensed taxidermy company and was stolen from a warehouse in Wimbledon in March last year. The Met Police has released pictures of the loot, which was found in an abandoned van in Essex following an anonymous tip-off, and it really is a sight to behold. Among the bootie are stuffed lions, a giraffe, a chimp in a top hat, a rhinoceros, a crocodile, a sloth, a zebra, a penguin, and a pink flamingo. Fancy carting that lot around without arousing suspicion!
The Met’s Detective Constable Stuart Goss described cataloguing and exhibiting the stolen items as ‘a truly unique and memorable experience’ and ‘an investigation which will stay with me for years to come’.
The thief, 47-year-old Jason Hopwood, pleaded guilty to burglary and fraudulent use of a registration plate. He was sentenced to 21 one months in jail, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 200 hours of community service work, so it's fair to say he’s a bit stuffed!
Images: Met Police.