Four farmers in the UK have been sentenced for “conspiring together” in the fraudulent trading of calves and breaching TB restriction rules.
The parties admitted they had conspired together in moving cattle from a premises under Bovine TB restriction and to then fraudulently, reidentify the animals to make it look as if they had been born on their farms.
The case came to light following an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public.
The court heard how officers from Staffordshire County Council’s animal health team visited the premises of 42-year-old Johnathan Pickford of Spotacre Farm on January 29th, 2019.
On the same day, officers also attended the premises of Robert James, aged 62, from Meaford Farm, Hilderstone, and 71-year-old Hazel Woodward and Neil Timmis, aged 54, both from High Elms Farm, Hilderstone in connection with the illegal movement of calves.
The farmers appeared before North Staffordshire Justice Centre on Monday, September 23rd, 2019.
All four parties pleaded guilty to the offences, with James being fined £416 (approximately €462), Pickford being fined £500 (approximately €556) and Woodward being fined £192 (approximately €213).
Mr Neil Timmis was sentenced separately as the person who had been in control of the operation and he was handed a 12-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months.
All individuals were additionally ordered to pay £866 each (approximately €963) towards costs.
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council said: “The rules relating to bovine tuberculosis are very clear and are in place to prevent the spread of the disease.”
“To remove animals from a herd that is under restriction which these individuals did completely undermines the rules and could have contributed to the spreading of the disease,” Atkins concluded.