A MONKEY spotted clinging to scaffolding in central London has found a new home in Purbeck.

The female Geoffrey’s marmoset was seen by concerned residents in Tower Hamlets last Sunday, May 6.

It was then herded into the lobby of a tower block before members of the public managed to secure it in a reptile vivarium.

The monkey’s rescuers then contacted Dr Alison Cronin, director of Monkey World - Ape Rescue Centre.

Staff from the centre quickly arrived and took the creature to its new home.

The monkey, which has been renamed Freya by the team, has been introduced to others of its own kind.

It is showing symptoms linked to nutritional bone disease, or rickets. The illness is prevalent in primates from the pet trade, as the animals are often not fed suitable diets.

Dr Cronin said the incident highlights the “overwhelming” problems of the legal UK pet trade in primates.

“The current laws in the UK allow more than 80 species of monkey to be kept legally,” she said.

“These primates, which include all species of squirrel monkey, night monkey, titi monkey and all marmosets and tamarins, can be bought as easily as goldfish, often by well-meaning animal lovers from unscrupulous breeders.

“Not knowing the specialist diets, social needs and appropriate environments these primates require, owners are unwittingly neglecting the monkeys, and Monkey World have rescued 115 primates from private homes.

“Worryingly, the trade is on the rise, with more than half of these rescues taking place in the last five years.

“Many suffer from rickets, aggression and mobility issues, often from being kept alone in bird cages, with no outside access and a diet of table scraps.

“As an international rescue centre, working with governments around the world to stop the smuggling of primates from the wild, it is tragic that the home-grown legal UK pet trade is the largest ongoing problem Monkey World faces.”

Dorset MP Richard Drax and musician Peter Gabriel recently handed a petition of more than 110,000 signatures to Downing Street as part of a bid to change the law around the trade. However, it was dismissed by MP George Eustice, Minister of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who said at the House of Commons in April 2017: “We consider that the standards set out in the primate code of practice provide primates with the same level of welfare protection as those in zoos.”

Since then, staff at Monkey World have rescued 13 more primates from the legal UK pet trade, and currently has a waiting list of more than 50, Dr Cronin said.

“The minister was proved wrong by a Brazilian monkey running loose on the streets of London,” she added.

The Dorset attraction is home to 36 marmosets.

Many of the creatures have been rescued from the pet trade in the UK.