Suspended jail sentence for ‘cruel’ farmers


- Credit: Archant

MOTHER and daughter farmers have been handed suspended jail sentences after risking the spread of animal diseases by ‘lying’ about their cattle movements.

North Somerset Council’s Trading Standards team prosecuted Kathleen and Sarah Wallis over their failure to properly record the whereabouts of their animals.

Tight regulations regarding the monitoring of cattle movements have been in place since the devastating foot and mouth outbreak of 2001.

But the Wallis’ admitted 18 counts of providing false information about their animals at their farm in Duck Lane, Wick St Lawrence, during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court.

Both mother and daughter have previously been convicted of criminal offences relating to either animal welfare or illegal movement of animals.

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In passing sentence, Judge Julian Lambert described the senior Wallis as a stubborn, ignorant, rotten and cruel farmer, and said her false records amounted to ‘lying… as simple as that’.

The judge told her ‘completing a movement book with the truth is not rocket science’ and warned that any further breaches will see her go ‘straight to jail’.

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The judge praised the painstaking work of officers who compiled the evidence against the two farmers.

Peter Bryant, the council’s executive member for community services said: “This is an astonishing case of a wilful disregard for legislation which was created to protect the whole farming community. The sterling efforts of the animal health inspector and his colleagues have been recognised by the judge in this case.

“We cannot permit farmers to deliberately or recklessly circumvent the legislation put in place to protect the industry and consumers alike and our Trading Standards service will continue to monitor this carefully. One inconsiderate livestock keeper can destroy the livelihood of many innocent farmers.”

Kathleen Wallis, aged 61, was sentenced to seven months in prison, suspended for two years. She was also ordered to obey a two-year community order and ordered to pay £16,960 costs.

Sarah Wallis, aged 23, was also made subject of a two-year community order, and will have to carry out 210 hours of unpaid community work.

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