Farmer handed suspended sentence over failure to dispose of dead pigs

Christopher Holt, 71, of Natures Farm, was sentenced last week (Wednesday) at Peterborough Crown Cou

Christopher Holt, 71, of Natures Farm, was sentenced last week (Wednesday) at Peterborough Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A farmer from Ellington, who tried to hide dead pigs from inspection teams, has been handed a suspended sentence.

Christopher Holt, 71, of Natures Farm, was sentenced on October 23 at Peterborough Crown Court.

He pleaded not guilty at a hearing on September 13, 2018, to four offences under regulations regarding the disposal of dead animals.

However, at a trial at Peterborough Crown Court on October 19 this year, he was found guilty.

He was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment for each offence, suspended for 18 months.

The court heard how Holt had failed in his obligation to dispose of the dead animals without undue delay. Instead he attempted to conceal dead pigs from Trading Standards officers under a heap of wood, boxes and bags.

He was issued a legal notice to dispose of the animals but, when officers returned, they found that Holt did not follow any advice previously given to him and that nothing had been done.

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On sentencing, Judge Sean Enright said: "This is a very serious offence of which the spread of disease is the nub of it and it is so serious it is worthy of a custodial sentence."

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough's head of Trading Standards, Peter Gell said: "Despite repeated warnings, Mr Holt left us no choice but to put this matter before the court.

"We're glad the court recognised the seriousness of these offences because there is a risk to the public and other animals through transmission of disease if carcases are not disposed of properly. Keeping livestock comes with responsibilities and should not be taken lightly, it is vital that strict disease control measures are enforced and adhered to."

If anyone has concerns regarding the welfare of farm animals, they should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.