Closeup of beef cattle© Tim Scrivener

A Yorkshire cattle dealer has been fined thousands of pounds for flouting cattle movement rules, which risked the spread of livestock diseases.

Harrogate magistrates fined Andrew Atkinson Livestock, of Felliscliffe, near Harrogate, £8,500 after the company admitted eight breaches of illegal movements of cattle and four offences of failure to record cattle movements.

Trading standards officers from North Yorkshire County Council brought the prosecution after an investigation discovered the firm was moving cattle from dedicated slaughter markets to the company’s farm premises.

See also: Award-winning farmer fined for cattle record-keeping failures

These movements were illegal and breached animal disease control legislation which requires that all livestock moved to a dedicated slaughter market can only be moved out direct to a slaughterhouse.

Disease controls were broken further when the cattle movements were not recorded in the company’s farm records or reported to the British Cattle Movement Service.

Speaking after sentencing, the council warned other livestock companies they too would be prosecuted if they flouted cattle movement rules.

County councillor Chris Metcalfe, an executive member of the council’s Trading Standards and Planning Services, said: “The rules regarding disease control and traceability are in place to reduce the risk of the spread of any animal disease and also to allow speedy traceability of livestock movements.

“The county council will continue to take action against those who flout these rules and who put the livestock sector and rural economy at risk.”