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A Cambridgeshire pig farming company has been fined £12,500 after an employee suffered a serious injury to his hand.

The stockman at Meadow Farm, Northwold, Norfolk, was shovelling feed into neighbouring troughs in December 2014 because the automated pellet system had failed.

The system had caused an overflow in the distribution of pellets and the worker used his hand to sweep the feed off the top of the machinery where it had built up.

But the machine started automatically and pulled his finger into the auger severely injuring it.

The farm owner, Norfolk Free Range Limited, of Lots Bridge Farm, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to an offence under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 at Kings Lynn Magistrates’ Court on 30 September.

Speaking after the hearing Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Anthony Brookes said: “HSE’s investigation revealed that this was an entirely preventable injury.

“Had somebody from the company checked that all the guards and covers were in place on the feed system before it was returned to service then the employee would not have been injured.”