Four Staffordshire farmers 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 restrictions and to then fraudulently reidentify the animals to make it look as if they had been born on their farms.
The court was told how officers from Staffordshire County Council’s Animal Health Team visited the premises of 42-year-old Johnathan Pickford of Spotacre Farm on 29 January 2019 following an anonymous tip off from a member of the public.
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.
All four parties pleaded guilty to the offences, with James being fined £416, Pickford being fined £500 and Woodward being fined £192.
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 parties were additionally ordered to pay £866 each towards costs.
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council said:
“Thankfully the vast majority of Staffordshire farmers act responsibly and play an important part in our rural economy. Unfortunately on rare occasions we do get cases like this and our trading standards team will act accordingly to protect animals and legitimate businesses.
“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. We are pleased this case has reached a successful conclusion.”
The four were given the sentence at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on Monday 23 September 2019.