Dead sheep is thrown into school playground

PUBLISHED: 11:30 23 July 2007 | UPDATED: 11:19 24 May 2010

A SOMERSET farmer is demanding compensation after a school firework display killed one of his sheep and more than 20 unborn lambs

A SOMERSET farmer is demanding compensation after a school firework display killed one of his sheep and more than 20 unborn lambs.Sedgemoor District Councillor John Denbee, of Ashton Mill Farm, in Ashton, was so distraught over the death of his sheep that he threw the carcass into a crowd of children and parents watching the display.Weare First School had put on the fireworks as well as a barn dance to entertain a group of foreign guests who were visiting the school.The loud noise disturbed the sheep in the field next door and one fell into a rhyne and drowned.An eye witness said: "He (Mr Denbee) turned up on the evening and went rushing into the field and came out five minutes later. He pulled his Jeep into the car park and then, screaming and shouting, he threw a dead sheep off the back of it in amongst some of the children and parents."The school tried to pass the shocking incident off as a countryside tradition to try to calm down its visitors.Headteacher David Williams said: "We tried to smooth things over as much as we could afterwards. "We had these foreign visitors here and we tried to pass it off as a Somerset tradition like cheese rolling."The school said it had warned Mr Denbee months in advance that the firework display would be taking place.However Cllr Denbee, who also owns JH Denbee estate agents in Cheddar, claims he begged the headteacher not to hold the event so close to one of his fields, which is next to the school and home to 60 sheep.He said: "The sheep went absolutely berserk. I found one of them in a drainage ditch and I couldn't save it, it drowned in front of my eyes. I was devastated."I pulled it out and put it in the school car park. I thought it was important that the children, parents and the headteacher saw what they'd done."It costs to dispose of a dead sheep so I thought, why should I pay for it? I think it's important people understand that livestock shouldn't be treated like that." Cllr Denbee says 20 of his ewes also lost their unborn lambs due to the firework display.He believes his business suffered a loss of £1,000 and he and his wife Sally are asking for compensation from Somerset County Council for their losses.

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