Police found 11 Nile crocodiles and an alligator while they were raiding a villa in Belgium in connection with a tax fraud case.

There were five crocodiles squeezed into a small, dirty shower, five others were kept in an aquarium made for only two and the alligator rolled up in several blankets. They were really kept in horrible conditions, said Frederik Thoelen, a biologist at the Nature Rescue Centre where they are now being kept.

The villa in the northwestern town of Damme near the Dutch border is owned by a 51-year-old German man, who is in police custody with charges of animal neglect. Identified as Rolf D, the suspect told the police the animals were given to him by a German veterinarian.

The restrictive caging and insufficient food seemed to have affected the growth of the crocodiles since they were only a little over one metre, instead of measuring more than two metres.

Belgian authorities believe that this is part of an animal trafficking scheme, according to a report by De Morgen newspaper.