Great-grandmother Joan Higgins, 66, felt the full weight of the law after being caught in a “sting” set up by her local council which sent the youngster to buy the £1.50 fish in a test purchase.
And after an eight-month wait to appear in court she almost fainted when she was fined £1,000 for selling an animal to someone under 16.
Mrs Higgins, who has run the shop for 28 years, was also put under a 7pm to 7am curfew for seven weeks and electronically tagged after magistrates accepted she was not well enough to do community service.Environmental health officials set up an undercover operation after being told Mrs Higgins and her son Mark, 47, sold animals to under-16s, an offence under the 2005 Animal Welfare Act.
They sent the youngster, whom the couple claim was nearly 15 and almost 6ft tall, into their shop in Sale, Greater Manchester, last July and the pair were prosecuted for selling him the goldfish, for failing to check his age or to offer advice about caring for it.http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/...ng-a-goldfish/Council spokesman Iain Veitch said: “We have many responsible pet shops in the borough who provide adequate advice and care for animals and we will always try to support pet and business owners so they are able to care for their animals properly. But where they ignore the advice they are given, we will not hesitate to use our statutory powers.”
The case is in stark contrast to the treatment meted out to much more serious offenders.
In July 2004 paedophile former judge David Selwood walked free from Bow Street Magistrates Court in London with a 12-month community order after pleading guilty to downloading indecent images of young boys.
In June last year convicted killer Keith Hopkins, 27, robbed frail pensioner Winifred Phipps, 81, but was given a community order – because he was scared of going back to prison.