Mid Wales

Powys farmer Emyr Jones Evans sentenced for TB offences

A Powys farmer has received a suspended prison sentence for breaching bovine TB regulations.

Mold Crown Court heard that Emyr Jones Evans of Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa, near Llanfyllin, put his financial interests ahead of public health.

He admitted six offences after the identities of cattle were swapped.

He received a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and was placed on supervision for a year. He also has to pay £28,900 in court costs.

The charges related to fraud, cattle identification and TB regulation breaches, with 21 other offences taken into consideration.

The court heard that when cattle with TB were found on the farm, which Jones Evans ran in partnership with his mother and brother, a large number of animals had to be slaughtered.

But Judge Philip Hughes said the most serious of the six offences was the fraud Jones Evans committed in May last year, when he kept an animal due for slaughter, which was a pedigree animal, and presented an inferior cow instead.

"You stood to make a financial gain at the expense of public health," the judge told him.

"No evidence has been identified that anything infected did reach the food chain in your case.

Animal passport offences

"It is obvious to me that you did not care whether it did or not."

The court heard that Jones Evans had been prepared to change ear tags to disguise the identity of animals and he had admitted animal passport offences.

Lee Reynolds, prosecuting for Powys council, said that there were about 200 milking cows on the 400-acre farm and during TB testing in 2009 ear tag discrepancies were discovered.

There was concern about the level of TB on the holding and movement restrictions were imposed.

In October and November 2009, 180 TB reactors were identified for slaughter and the farm received £400,000 compensation.

A further £100,000 was due to be paid for further slaughtering.

Geraint Walters, defending, said that while there was an obvious risk there was no evidence that any infected produce had got into the food chain.

The defendant was no longer a partner in the farm, and his future would be that of a hired hand, he said.

After the court hearing, Ken Yorston of Powys trading standards said the sentence should act as a deterrent to others in the farming industry who might be tempted to break the animal health regulations.

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