A BUSINESSMAN accused of using a tiger head and elephant foetus for commercial gain has denied the charges.

James Cranfield, 26, of Napier Avenue, Southend, denied seven charges accusing him of using photos of exotic animal specimens for commercial gain when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Tuesday.

The pictures of three sea turtle skulls, a tiger head, a small and large mount of a leopard, an elephant foetus and five sawfish saws appeared on his Instagram account, a photographic social network, between May 1 and June 6.

Prosecutor Charlotte Davison said while Cranfield had made it clear these were not for sale, posting them on Instagram with other, legal, specimens that were for sale amounted to a “puff” for his business and were thus used for commercial gain.

Cranfield’s barrister Thomas Godfrey told the court this was never his intention and the photos were merely uploaded to the social network for the public’s interest.

Judge Owen Davies QC said it would be for a jury to decide if this was the case and a trial was set to take place on July 28.

Cranfield pleaded guilty to four other charges in the hearing, regarding the sale of three stuffed tawny owls and one barn owl in the same period, which are legal to sell, but only with changes made to a particular certificate.

Mr Godfrey said: “These are sale specific licences, meaning if they are sold to a third party, the licence itself must be changed with the name changed to the buyer’s.

“He was simply unaware he had to change the certificate to the seller’s name.”

Cranfield was granted unconditional bail and ordered to return to the court on July 28.

He will not be sentenced for his guilty pleas until the end of the trial for the remaining charges against him.