A consultant from Knaresborough, North Yorks is warning farmers to check the dates on their SP5 acknowledgment letters from the Rural Payments Agency.

Catherine Davies of Lister Haigh said she had hand-delivered one application to the Northallerton office on 30 May, but the acknowledgment letter sent from Newcastle claimed that it had only arrived on 1 June.

Another form which had been delivered on 31 May had come back with an acknowledgment date of 2 June.

Ms Davies said the dates were important as late application penalties would apply to any forms delivered after 31 May.

“The staff at Northallerton have been very helpful. But it seems that Newcastle doesn’t seem to understand the consequences of going with the date the form was received at the regional centre.

“The whole things is a merry mess.”