A farmer who could have potentially sparked a catastrophic disease outbreak in farm animals in the county has been ordered to pay £4,500 costs.
David Stamper, of Colte Coates Farm, Collins Lane, Chipping, near Preston, flouted the “standstill” rule - a law that restricts the movement of animals to and from farm premises for six days.
It was brought into force following the devastating foot and mouth outbreak in 2001, which cost an estimated £9bn to the economy and saw six million animals slaughtered.
Prosecuting for Lancashire Trading Standards, Nick McNamara showed the court how in one case, Stamper received more than 500 sheep from various auctions between February 23 and 28, 2012, but transferred 357 animals to a Penrith auction on February 29.
He said: “Livestock markets are high risk premises and officially categorised by DEFRA as critical control points in the control and prevention of disease. On any sale day upwards of 3,000 animals and numerous dealers and buyers can pass through a market, so it is vital standstill is observed both in the run up to and following sales.”
Stamper, 60, a well known livestock competition judge, denied three counts of flouting the Disease Control (England) Order 2003 between January and February 2012.
Animal eartag records show he received sheep at a farm holding in his name but “flipped” them to a second holding on the same site - registered in another name - to avoid being detected. The two holdings are separated by a small road.
District Judge Jane Goodwin, at Preston Magistrates Court, found him guilty and gave him a three year conditional discharge.