Auction manager fined £2k over fake vet drugs

An auction mart manager has been fined £2,000 for possessing Micotil, a fake veterinary medicine potentially lethal to humans and animals.

Ruth Elizabeth Bell, 42, of Nether Welton, near Carlisle, Cumbria, admitted a single charge of possessing an unauthorised veterinary medicinal product in November 2011.

DEFRA inspectors found 19 sealed bottles of a product purporting to contain Micotil (tilmicosin) in Ms Bell’s car at Barnard Castle Auction Mart in Teesdale, County Durham, Newton Aycliffe magistrates heard on Friday (13 December).

David Medd, prosecuting on behalf of DEFRA, told the court that the product was counterfeit and could be very dangerous to use and a potentially fatal drug – both to humans and animals – if administered incorrectly.

Micotil is a prescribed antibiotic used for treatment of pneumonia in cattle and sheep and other illnesses. A vet should only administer the product.

Clive Booth, defending, presented numerous testimonials from the auction market about Ms Bell’s good character. He said she accepted full responsibility for possession of the drug.

The presiding magistrates told Ms Bell he had considered passing a custodial sentence because the product was potentially lethal.

He stressed the outrage that would have been experienced if any contaminated meat had found its way into the supply chain.

Ms Bell was fined £2,000, a £200 victim surcharge plus £85 costs – a total of £2,285 to be paid within seven days.