A FARMER has been given a suspended jail sentence after he broke bovine tuberculosis (TB) restrictions.
Anthony Kirkham, of Ridley Farm near Bunbury, was given a four-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, after he pleaded guilty to eight offences at Crewe Magistrates Court.
The 69-year-old’s farm was placed under TB restrictions in April 2011, after a cow was found to have bovine TB.
This meant that animals could not be moved on or off his farm without a veterinary risk assessment being carried out and a movement licence granted.
Mr Kirkham admitted that he had moved a cow on to his farm while under restrictions without a licence and also that he had moved cattle from the TB exempt market at Chelford to ‘non-permitted destinations’.
Sentencing Mr Kirkham, District Judge Jack McGarva said that he was mindful of the devastating effect bovine TB is having on the farming industry, and said compliance with the legislation is ‘not optional, not a technicality, but is essential for the country and for farming colleagues’.
He also noted that only a few months before the most recent offences, Mr Kirkham had been ordered to pay a fine and prosecution costs in the region of £10,000 for similar offences related to breaches of a TB restriction notice.
Additionally, Mr Kirkham had been fined £13,000 in 2003 for breaching legislation to control the spread of foot and mouth disease.
Along with the custodial sentence, Mr Kirkham was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £5,998.40.
Cllr Les Gilbert, cabinet member for communities and regulatory services, said: “Cheshire East has a vibrant rural community and we need to do everything we can to protect our farmers from threats such as bovine TB.
“I would like to thank our animal health team for their efforts in bringing this prosecution and I hope it will act as a warning to any farmers or cattle traders thinking of breaching restrictions.”