Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Blackmoor Estate fruit farm deaths: Safety breaches admitted

The fruit packing business at the Blackmoor Estate
Image caption Blackmoor Estate Ltd were charged offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

A Conservative peer's family estate in Hampshire has admitted health and safety breaches following the deaths of two workers on its fruit farm.

Scott Cain, 23, and Ashley Clarke, 24, were found unconscious in an apple store at Lord Selborne's Blackmoor Estate near Liss on 18 February.

Blackmoor Estate Ltd pleaded guilty to three health and safety charges at Winchester Crown Court.

Image copyright Family photo - police handout
Image caption Ashley Clarke was retrieving apples from a long-term storage container

The charges relate to inadequate emergency plans and risk assessments.

The estate pleaded not guilty to a fourth health and safety charge.

Mr Cain, from Whitehill, and Mr Clarke, from Liss, died while retrieving apples from a long-term storage container in which fruit is kept at very low oxygen levels, according to the CPS.

A former manager at the estate, Andrew Stocker, 57, of The Links, Bordon, pleaded not guilty to two counts of gross negligence manslaughter at a previous hearing.

He is to stand trial on 3 June.

The case against the estate has been adjourned for sentencing at the conclusion of the trial.

John Palmer, the fourth Earl of Selborne, was one of the hereditary peers who remained in the House of Lords following the reforms of 1999.

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