Farmer poured sheep remains on muckheap

A LIVESTOCK farmer poured the remains of dead sheep on to his land at the height of last year's foot-and-mouth outbreak, a court has heard.

Dave Gooderham

A LIVESTOCK farmer poured the remains of dead sheep on to his land at the height of last year's foot-and-mouth outbreak, a court has heard.

Trevor Street admitted spreading the dead animals on to his muckheap - flouting European regulations - in a desperate bid to cut costs

His actions, which took place for over three years, fell foul of stringent legislation and posed a potential health risk to the public, magistrates in Sudbury heard yesterday.

Ian de Prez , prosecuting, said his actions could have caused massive environmental problems in the Suffolk countryside.

Street, who owns Braes Farm in Assington, near Sudbury, was caught out when trading standards officers at Suffolk County Council were tipped off by a member of the public.

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Although there was no connection with foot-and-mouth, the 51-year-old was investigated at the peak of the outbreak in September.

Mr de Prez said: “The laws are there to prevent or reduce the risk of disease spread in rural areas - the defendant must have been aware of this. These restrictions have been around for decades.

“The remains could have been picked up by foxes or birds which meant there was a risk of it spreading further into the eco-system and, worst case scenario, the human food chain.

“The bones of dead animals must be disposed of in a safe way to prevent the spread of infection.”

Street pleaded guilty to contravening European regulations in collecting, transporting, identifying and disposing carcases in an appropriate manner when he appeared before magistrates yesterday.

Philip Cookson, defending, said: “This is not the most sophisticated crime in the world, he has been putting sheep carcasses onto a muckheap and then fertilising his land.

“My client runs a good and proper farm and cares for his animals - these are sheep that died in normal circumstances. He recognises these regulations are important and openly and frankly apologises for his actions taken.”

The court heard Street, a first generation farmer who looks after 1,500 sheep and 300 acres, had been in the business for 35 years and was said to be a “highly skilled and professional shepherd”.

Mr de Prez added: “It is not a case of someone cutting a corner to make a profit. Mr Street was under severe financial pressures but other farmers have similar pressures and are able to comply with the law.”

Street was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £500 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

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