Farmer pleads guilty to illegally importing animals into the North

A Co. Down farmer who pleaded guilty to a range of charges relating to the movement and disposal of animals has received a two month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

William Cranston, of Aughnagurgan Road, Altnamackin, Newry, was sentenced at Newry Magistrates’ Court earlier this week on several charges.

Cranston pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to dispose of an animal carcass and two charges of failing to notify the Department of the movement of 101 animals off his holding.

He also pleaded guilty to eight charges of illegally importing animals into Northern Ireland from another Member State without the animals being accompanied by a completed health certificate and one charge of failure to keep a herd register.

One charge of moving animals into his herd whilst the herd was under a tuberculosis restriction was also brought against the Newry farmer.

Cranston had previously pleaded guilty to all charges and he received two months imprisonment suspended for two years and was fined £500 plus £30 offender levy.

According to the North’s Department of Agriculture, this case arose from a number of discrepancies discovered during a joint North/south operation involving officers from DARD Veterinary Service Enforcement Branch, the Department of Agriculture, the PSNI and Gardai.

Last week, a woman from Co. Louth was fined €3,710 after she was convicted of a range of offences for failing to have due regard to the health and welfare of pigs and sheep she kept on lands at Balriggan, Kilcurry, near Dundalk.

Dona Sfar of 129 Oaklands, Dundalk, Co. Louth, was convicted in absentia at Dundalk District Court recently for the offences which were committed on various occasions during July and August 2014.

The prosecution was taken by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (represented by John Ryan, BL, instructed by Fergus Mullen, State Solicitor) under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.

Judge Flann Brennan found Sfar guilty and imposed fines totalling €1710 with costs of €1500 and expenses of the investigation of €500.

He also made an Order under section 58 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 banning Sfar from keeping animals for five years.