“We would have banned you if we had the power to do so, but we do not have the power.”
Those were the damning words of magistrates as they sentenced a farmer who left rotting carcasses around his farm, which could have triggered a serious disease outbreak.
Albert Nelson, 76, narrowly avoided an immediate jail term after admitting failing to dispose of dead sheep around his farm in Broughton and allowing his animals access to raw meat.
The bench at Preston Magistrates’ Court, did not have powers to ban him keeping animals, but imposed an eight week sentence suspended for 12 months, with 12 months supervision, £200 costs, and an £80 victim surcharge.
They said they were “concerned at his unwillingness” to accept how much he was to blame.
Graphic photographs taken by inspectors showed rotting carcasses dumped in wheelie bins, trailers, under metal sheeting and even in an animal pen at Bank Hall Farm.
Nelson, who has farmed for 60 years, was prosecuted under laws designed to prevent disease outbreaks, such as foot-and-mouth and BSE.
He admitted seven contraventions of disease control measures.
Prosecuting on behalf of Lancashire Trading Standards, Nick McNamara said: “The circumstances go back to March 20, 2013, when animal health officers, responding to a complaint, attended the defendant’s farm at Broughton.
“The purpose of the officers’ visit was to inspect the proper disposal of livestock carcasses and, having first introduced themselves to Mr Nelson, they set about an inspection of farm buildings in a yard near the farmhouse.”
“The first building they entered is described as a pig building where they found three sheep and a lamb.
“At the back of the pig building was an area containing two large sows, in front of which were piled crates and plastic bags containing scraps of pink meat.”
Officers later found Nelson, described as a “small-scale” livestock keeper, had disguised carcasses under corrugated metal sheeting, under a blanket and in trailers.
Raw meat and bones were also found in a pen and a feeder.