A Welsh dairy farmer has been given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £28,900 in costs for breaching bovine TB regulations.

Emyr Jones Evans of Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa, near Llanfyllin, Powys, faced charges relating to fraud, cattle identification and TB regulation breaches, with 21 other offences taken into consideration.

Judge Philip Hughes sitting at Mold Crown Court described a tag swapping incident as the most serious offence.

The court heard that Mr Evan Jones retained a pedigree cow which had been earmarked for slaughter and presented an inferior cow instead.

“You stood to make a financial gain at the expense of public health,” Judge Hughes said.

Mr Jones Evans also admitted animal passport offences.

Lee Reynolds, prosecuting for Powys council, said that there were about 200 milking cows on the 400-acre farm and during TB testing in 2009 ear tag discrepancies were discovered.

There was concern about the level of TB on the holding and movement restrictions were imposed.

In October and November 2009, 180 TB reactors were identified for slaughter and the farm received £400,000 compensation.

A further £100,000 was due to be paid for further slaughtering.

Geraint Walters, defending, said that while there was an obvious risk there was no evidence that any infected produce had got into the food chain.

The defendant was no longer a partner in the farm, and his future would be that of a hired hand, he said.

After the court hearing, Ken Yorston of Powys trading standards said the sentence should act as a deterrent to others in the farming industry who might be tempted to break the animal health regulations.