12 December 2000
Police milk probe ‘may take weeks’

By FWi staff

THE police inquiry into accounting irregularities at the farmer-funded Milk Development Council (MDC) could last weeks, the organisation has warned.

The statutory body – to which dairy farmers last year gave 5 million – called in police after finding unspecified financial irregularities stretching back years.

Brian Peacock, MDC chairman, has now indicated that the police probe is unlikely to finish before Christmas, and could last into the New Year.

“It may be like that for some weeks,” he told FARMERS WEEKLY. “We cant say any more because in no way can we prejudice the work that the police are doing.”

Farmers are shocked. Jim Walker, president of the National Farmers Union of Scotland, said: “I am appalled at the possibility of fraud within the MDC.”

Milk producers had put their confidence in the Milk Development Council to ensure their money was correctly and legally accounted for, he added.

The National Farmers Union of England and Wales described the situation as “delicate”. A union spokeswoman declined to comment further for legal reasons.