Cattle dealer breached regulations

PUBLISHED: 14:22 03 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:32 03 July 2010

A POTTER Heigham livestock dealer made a "genuine mistake" when he breached strict disease control regulations designed to combat foot-and-mouth disease, a court heard.

A POTTER Heigham livestock dealer made a “genuine mistake” when he breached strict disease control regulations designed to combat foot-and-mouth disease, a court heard.

Paul Barwood was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £802 costs after he moved three cows off land at Hemsby, during a period of mandatory restrictions on the movement of cattle.

The restrictions banned all cattle being moved within six days of arriving at a farm to help prevent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth.

Anyone breaching the order can be jailed for up to six months and fined £5,000.

Last Thursday, Great Yarmouth magistrates heard Barwood had purchased cattle last spring and then moved three animals from Martham Road Farm, Hemsby, during the restricted period.

David Foulkes, prosecuting on behalf of Norfolk Trading Standards, said the three offences were unearthed when the British Cattle Movement Service studied transport documents Barwood had sent off.

Magistrates heard that Barwood, 38, of Green Lane, Potter Heigham, was not trying to make a financial gain from moving the cattle early but had made genuine mistakes over the time he should have moved them.

Mr Foulkes said: “He did very long hours and does paper work at 10 or 11pm at night so mistakes are sometimes made.”

The court was told that Barwood had been convicted in 2004 of six counts of failing to notify the movement of bovine.

Barwood, who earns £230 a week, had now implemented new measures to make sure that disease control orders breaches should never happen again.

Phil Cookson, in mitigation, said that his client handled 3,000 cattle a year and that the error in moving three of them equated to 99.9pc of all movements being correctly logged.

Mr Cookson said: “If he was trying to pull a fast one he simply would not have recorded it.”

The court heard that members of the livestock trade from across the region had submitted letters which praised Barwood's character, which was described as reliable, honest and straight forward.

Magistrates gave Barwood a conditional discharge for one year and made him pay the prosecution costs of £802.50p.

Chairman of the bench Gordon Smith said: “We are satisfied this looks like a genuine mistake.

“There was no commercial gain here and little risk from the spread of disease.”

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