A judge has handed a suspended sentence and fines of over €7,000 to a sheep farmer after pleading guilty to 22 animal-related offences.
Stephen Redman, 65, of Newark Park Farm in the UK, appeared before Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on December 15th, 2021.
Gloucestershire County Council’s trading standards service brought the case which related to:
- Failing to apply ear tags to sheep;
- Not reporting animal movements and deaths;
- Failing to dispose of animal carcasses properly;
- Falsifying the birth records of 12 cattle.
Sheep farmer in court
Cheltenham Magistrates sentenced him to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.
The judge made it clear that he could be sent to prison if he committed further offences within this time.
He was also ordered to pay the full costs of bringing the case of £6,034 and a victim surcharge of £85.
The court heard that animal health inspectors from trading standards had advised him on a “number” of occasions over many years.
He had received a caution in 2016 for failing to tag his sheep and dispose of sheep carcasses.
On June 3rd, 2020, trading standards received a call from a member of the public who had found a “partially burnt sheep carcass in an oil drum in a field”. An officer visited the field and found the carcass, which was identified by its ear tag as belonging to Redman.
During the inspection, officers found the carcasses of several other sheep in varying stages of decomposition scattered in a nearby field farmed by Redman.
Furthermore, on June 9th, 2020, trading standards received a second complaint from a member of the public.
They had noticed a “terrible stench” as they walked along the road, which they identified as sheep carcasses buried in a heap of rotting potatoes.
An officer attended and found at least six sheep carcasses buried in a “huge” pile of potatoes.
The court heard that it was apparent that they had been “deliberately” buried in the potatoes and had been dead for a “considerable” period.
Using ear tags in two of the carcasses, officers identified these as Redman’s sheep.
While on the farm, officers also noticed several sheep without ear tags despite this being a legal requirement.
Twin births and deaths
Furthermore, Redman’s records revealed a “suspiciously” high amount of twin births in his cattle.
DNA testing was carried out to confirm whether they were the offspring of their registered dams.
The results confirmed that the records were incorrect. The cattle passports were withdrawn to prevent them from entering the human food chain.
Redman also failed to record the deaths and disposal routes for several cattle that had died on his holding.
He had “no credible explanation” when questioned about all these matters.
Magistrates felt that the mitigation put forward to suggest that he had not tried to hide anything, including the carcasses, made the offences more serious as the carcasses were on show for the public to see.
Other farming news: