Farmer ordered to pay £10k after breaking bTB rules

Somerset Trading Standards Service investigated after intelligence was received from APHA
Somerset Trading Standards Service investigated after intelligence was received from APHA

A Somerset farmer has been ordered to pay over £10,000 after breaching rules in place to help control the spread of bovine TB.

Mendip farmer Trevor Bolton moved his 104-strong herd to a location that was not permitted, Taunton Magistrates Court heard on 4 November.

The 68-year-old, who pleaded guilty to seven charges related to his cattle business, failed to notify the British Cattle Movement Service when the cattle were moved.

He also didn't mark a cattle passport with the date of movement and keeper details as required, and did not have a ‘transporter authorisation’ certificate.

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service investigated after intelligence was received from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Officers found Mr Bolton purchased cattle from restricted markets, who took them back to his holding instead of an Approved Finishing Unit or abattoir in line with TB legal requirements.

The farmer accepted that he had made these movements and said that he had done so because of problems at the abattoir or for animal welfare reasons.

He added that he took the cattle to a separate holding, away from his own premises at Brookfield Farm, Shepton Mallet, because he ‘didn’t want them mixing with his own animals because of the ‘disease risk’ – even though he had previously been advised of the requirements.

In his defence, Jeffrey Bannister said that Mr Bolton had not financially gained by making these movements and had been struggling with paperwork and time because of caring for his wife while trying to run a business.

Magistrates said Mr Bolton had deliberately breached the regulations and was fined £1,000 on each of the seven offences which was reduced from £1,500 for each offence due to the guilty pleas.

He was also ordered to pay full costs of £3,350 and a victim surcharge of £170 totalling £10,520.

Marie Clements, of Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service, said reducing the risk of animal health disease was one of the team's priorities.

“The South West has a particularly high prevalence of Bovine TB and it has a huge economic impact both on farmers and the region in general," she added.

“Farmers have been making great leaps to reduce the impact of Bovine TB in recent years and any breaches of TB legislation risks undoing the good work already done and puts livelihoods at risk.”