Farmers fined £2,000 for leaving dead sheep to rot

A Gloucestershire farming couple have been fined £2,000 for failing to remove rotten sheep carcasses from their holding.

Kevin Hancock and Rachel Nyland, of Forest Road, Lydney, pleaded guilty to 21 offences involving animal welfare.

The charges related to a failure to dispose of sheep carcasses, failing to report the movement of sheep on to the holding or keeping records relating to sheep movements.

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Following a complaint by a member of the public, animal health inspectors visited the land the couple farmed at Oldcroft, in Yorkley, and found a number of well-rotted sheep carcasses.

The officer found one carcass lying in a disused sheep dip, another under a wheelbarrow and one in an open wool sack.

Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards issued Mr Hancock with a formal notice requiring him to dispose of the carcasses by 5pm the following day, but when officers returned he still hadn’t taken them away.

Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard the carcasses were a disease risk to livestock and wildlife.

Further investigations found a number movements of sheep purchased by the couple at local markets had not been reported. Formal demands were made for Mr Hancock or Ms Nyland to produce the records, but they were unable to do, claiming they had been lost.

Disease risk

The couple’s defence lawyers asked for credit for their early guilty pleas, as well as pointing to a personal issue within the family. Magistrates said the offences were serious and could have caused the spread of disease.

Mr Hancock and Ms Nyland were given a conditional discharge for 18 months and each ordered to pay £1,000 towards the costs incurred by trading standards in bringing the case and a victim surcharge of £20.

Speaking after sentencing, Councillor Nigel Moor, of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “It is disappointing that we’re once again talking about breaches of legislation which could have a damaging effect on the county’s agricultural industry.

“These rules are in place to help prevent the spread of disease and ignoring them is not something we will put up with. This is an excellent result for our trading standards team and should serve as a warning to others that we will not tolerate these breaches.”

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