Northumberland farmer admits livestock offences

Court latest
Court latest

A Northumberland farmer who admitted 13 offences relating to cattle must pay almost £2,000.

Northumberland County Council’s Public Protection Service prosecuted farmer Michael Smith, of Hillhead Farm, Shilbottle.

He pleaded guilty to 13 offences under the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007, when he appeared before South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court recently.

Mr Smith was taken to court after an investigation by Animal Health inspectors identified that he had failed to make records of cattle movements and failed to record the movement or death of the cattle, meaning that the whereabouts of these animals could not be traced.

The British Cattle Movement Service had refused to issue passports to five of the animals. Under livestock movement regulations these animals are not allowed to move alive off the farm and are not allowed to enter the food chain.

Coun John Riddle, Cabinet member with responsibility for public protection, said: “It is imperative that farmers keep full and accurate livestock records to ensure the safety and integrity of the food chain.

“Farming is a crucial industry in Northumberland and it’s vital every single farmer complies with regulations. As a county council we will do all we can to support our farmers but we will also take enforcement action where necessary.”

David Sayer, the county council’s business compliance and public safety manager, added: “In this case, cattle that had been refused passports were not on the farm when the Inspector checked, and no record of their whereabouts could be found.

“This was a clear breach of the Cattle Regulations and we will always seek to prosecute such matters.”

Magistrates imposed fines and costs totalling £1,830 on the farmer.