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Suspended jail sentences for Staffordshire farmers

Posted on Friday 23rd February 2024
1. Animal Health Case 2024 NR

Photos of some of the cattle

Three Staffordshire farmers have been given suspended prison sentences for breaching cattle identification and movement rules to stop the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis.

Sean Landy, 48 from Onneley, pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud and dishonestly stating that cattle had been pre-movement tested for Bovine Tuberculosis at Pear Tree Farm, Audley, prior to selling the cattle through livestock markets in February 2020. 

Both Mark Oulton, 53 from Doddlespool Farm, Betley, and Christopher Armstrong, 46 of Limekiln Farm, Kidsgrove, pleaded guilty to failing to report cattle movements and the deaths of cattle.

The offending was identified after a complaint was made to Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards regarding cattle that were on Pear Tree Farm, Audley.  The premise had previously been farmed by Landy, and on inspection by animal health officers, it was found that Oulton and Armstrong had cattle at the site which they had moved on multiple dates throughout 2020, without the movement or deaths of animals having been recorded.  

Landy had vacated the farm earlier in the year and had sold his cattle via three livestock markets across England and Wales.  He gave false dates, stating that the animals had tested negative for Bovine Tuberculosis, when in fact the tests had never taken place.  As a result of this action, 11 farms were placed under disease control restrictions until satisfied that the animals were clear from the disease.

At their sentencing on Thursday 22 February at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, Landy was given a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay costs of £1,355.  He was also ordered to undertake 100 hours unpaid work and to pay 11 farmers £200 each in compensation, who because of his actions, had been exposed to loss.

Oulton was sentenced to 48 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay £5000 in costs.  Oulton was additionally placed under a curfew for 26 weeks between the hours of 9pm and 5am.

Armstrong was sentenced to 58 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay £5000 in costs.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said:

“Our animal health team work hard to make sure that livestock is looked after properly and that the controls put in place to limit the spread of disease are followed.

“Animal diseases such as Bovine Tuberculosis cost farmers and taxpayers huge amounts of money and can have a devastating effect on herds that have been built up over many generations.  Landy’s actions were reckless and it is only right that those farmers affected by his decision to move cattle without the required tests are compensated.

“We are pleased that the court has reached a successful conclusion.  This sentence sends out a clear message that our animal health team will take action against those who knowingly break the law in such a manner.”

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