Waterlooville man who said he bribed officer gets ban for dog sales

Senior environmental health officer Laurent Lemagnen, who works for Havant Borough Council, outside Portsmouth Magistrates' Court following the conviction of David Parsons, 55, who sold pets without a licence. Picture: Jeff Travis
Senior environmental health officer Laurent Lemagnen, who works for Havant Borough Council, outside Portsmouth Magistrates' Court following the conviction of David Parsons, 55, who sold pets without a licence. Picture: Jeff Travis

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A MAN who illegally sold dogs and sparked a council inquiry into one of its own environmental health officers has been banned from selling pets.

David Parsons, 55, sold two West Highland Terriers – amassing £745 from the two sales.

The dogs, Rosie and Lily, were advertised on the internet and brought over from kennels in Wales to Waterlooville, where Mr Parsons had a home.

But, by law, Mr Parsons was required to have a pet shop licence for his address in Hazleton Way.

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard when environmental health officers from Havant Borough Council approached him to warn him of the breaches, serious allegations were made.

Parsons claimed he was bribing Laurent Lemagnen, a senior environmental health officer, so payment would not have to be made for a licence.

The cost of a permit is £120.

Prosecutor Richard Tutt said Parsons claimed he had paid Mr Lemagnen on three occasions – £200 in 2011, £100 in 2012 and £200 in cash in 2013.

Mr Tutt added: ‘He said he had provided two friends of Mr Lemagnen with two puppies in lieu of payment.’

Mr Parsons, an aerial engineer, also claimed he was working undercover for the RSPCA.

Mr Tutt said: ‘He said he had been working in an undercover team to prevent puppy farming in Wales.

‘He accepted he did not have a pet shop licence.’

The offences of selling dogs without a licence happened in January and March last year.

The allegations sparked a council investigation.

Mr Tutt said: ‘Mr Lemagnen provided his bank documents, mobile phone records. A number of employees at the council were interviewed.’

The allegations were found to be totally unfounded.

The RSPCA also had no knowledge of Parsons’ claims.

Parsons, who has now moved to Haverfordwest in Wales and was working for kennels there, pleaded guilty to trading as a pet shop without a licence.

Chairman of the bench, Malcolm Hogg, said Parsons had a ‘pretty healthy disregard’ for licensing requirements.

He was disqualified from keeping a pet shop for 10 years and ordered to pay a fine of £450 and costs of £900.

After the hearing, Mr Lemagnen, 42, who has been working for Havant Borough Council for about eight years, told The News: ‘He got a big handful of mud and tried to sling it about.

‘It’s caused a lot of distress.

‘Having allegations like that – it’s potentially your whole career out of the window.

‘It’s a serious allegation that he made.’