05 June 1998
Farmers Ferry plans run aground
as Barclays pulls plug
By FWi staff
BARCLAYS Bank has declined to open a bank account for the newly formed Farmers Ferry Ltd over security fears.
Barclays directors feared the bank would be targeted by militant animal rights activists if it proceeded with its plan to set up an account for the new business.
Last week, a group of Welsh farmers announced plans to charter a roll-on-roll-off ferry between Dover and Dunkirk to bolster live sheep exports. Shipments of live sheep have plummeted from 1.7 million head in 1994 to 437,000 last year and farmers are keen to exploit this market.
A statement released by the bank today said: “Reaction to recent publicity given to our consideration of this request has caused concern and led us to hold discussions with the police and with the Royal Mail in relation to security issues.”
“Barclays regards the safety of its staff and its customers as its first priority,” it said.
The decision by Barclays to distance itself from the ferry initiative follows Sundays firebombing of lorries belonging to a livestock haulier.
Forty incendiary devices were found under lorries at A.E George Ltd in Bruton, Somerset. Two of the firebombs ignited, badly wrecking one lorry and causing minor damage to another.
Police have not ruled out the possibility that animal activists were behind the attacks.