Prickly matter is Queensland first for Ipswich court

TWO men, who police believe to be the first to be charged in Queensland with keeping an echidna, have had to forfeit the animal to the state government.

Aaron Graeme Houghton, 30, and Justin Ryan Harriss, 29, faced an Ipswich court this morning on a combined 18 charges after police allegedly found the protected animal at a property at Prenzlau, near Marburg on August 17.

Police say they found a live female echidna, a caret python and a number of weapons including four "pen guns" and a shortened .22 rifle.

The animal was delivered to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection with the aim of releasing it back into the wild.

It is an offence under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 to keep a protected animal and penalties can include a jail sentence.

Harriss was charged with 12 offences including unlawful possession of category H, A and R weapons, possess shortened firearm, manufacturing weapons, possess dangerous drug and offences relating to the restriction on keeping or using protected animal class one and class four

Houghton was charged with unlawful possession category H weapon, manufacturing weapon, possess utensil and restriction of keeping protected animal class one and class four offences.

Both men had their matters adjourned to October 11.



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