15 January 1999

Salop cattle fraud alleged

ALLEGATIONS are being investigated that cattle over 30 months old have been presented for slaughtered for human consumption at abattoirs in Shropshire.

The county councils trading standards department is investigating 22 separate cases.

David Walker, the countys chief trading standards officer, said: "Given the disastrous effect of the BSE crisis on Shropshires economy we take a very serious view of this type of allegation.

"In some cases documents have been falsified or inaccurate proof of age has been provided when presenting the cattle for slaughter for human consumption."

John Newall, a senior NFU regional officer, said the revelation was shocking. "From our point of view in the NFU this is extremely worrying. We do not and cannot condone any illegal acts that may be carried out."

A Shropshire farmer was jailed for nine months last week (News, Jan 8) after trading standards officers successfully prosecuted him for submitting ineligible calves to the calf processing scheme.