Farmer fined for marketing uncertified seed

A Yorkshire farmer has been fined £90,000 and given a two-year suspended prison sentence for a string of offences including marketing uncertified cereal seed and engaging in false accounting.

Phillip Kendra, and his company P and M Kendra Market Weighton Ltd, were charged with 40 offences in total, including nine under The Theft Act and 11 under the Seeds Marketing Regulations. When sentencing, 213 offences of false accounting were also taken into consideration.

The charges included marketing uncertified cereal seed, failing to register with The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), and false accounting in connection with royalties payable to the British Society of Plant Breeders.

Following the DEFRA prosecution, Mr Kendra received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with fines and costs of over £90,000 at Hull Crown Court on Wednesday (11 May).

Tony Harrington, director of Policy and Regulation at Fera, said it was a landmark case supporting plant breeders’ intellectual property rights and reinforced the role legislation played in assuring seed quality remained high.

“The illegal marketing of farm saved seed deprives breeders of royalties for investment in the development of new varieties which, in turn, benefit farmers and users further downstream in terms of increasing crop yield, seed quality and disease resistance.”

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