A TYNEDALE farmer has been fined for failing to correctly dispose of dead sheep.

Ian Findlay (57), of East Kielder Farm, Kielder, pleaded guilty at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court last Friday to 11 charges of failing to dispose of dead stock correctly and one offence of allowing animals access to the dead stock, contrary to the Animal By-Products Regulations. He also admitted two charges of providing false information when registering calves.

Eight further charges of failing to dispose of dead sheep were withdrawn.

While the authority and Public Protection Service acknowledged Findlay’s actions were accidental, Lisa Bishop, prosecuting on behalf of the county council, said his failure to get rid of the sheep carcases in the right manner could have caused diseases to spread to living animals and birds.

The court heard that members of the service’s animal health inspection team had received an anonymous tip-off about dead sheep on the farm.

When inspectors visited on March 1, 2017, they found the carcases and skeletal remains of at least 45 sheep in different locations.

The team returned to the farm on March 6 for a cattle inspection and discovered two calves had been registered with the British Cattle Movement Service as being just five weeks old when the inspectors could tell the animals were at least three months old.

Inspectors revisited East Kielder on January 24, 2018, after another complaint by a member of the public about dead stock on the farm. They found further skeletal remains.

The council accepted that Findlay had arranged for them to be picked up and disposed of that day, although one carcase had been missed.

Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said Findlay had farmed the Forestry Commission-owned land since 1990 with his father.

However, since his father’s passing in 2006, he had sole responsibility for the farm.

In the lead-up to the initial visit in 2017, he had experienced some personal problems which included caring for his mother, and he was suffered from stress. Mr Forrester said Findlay used a local waste disposal company to collect carcases he had gathered, but he must have missed a number of bones on his land.

The particularly bad weather of the time had not helped, with Mr Forrester adding that Findlay’s farm stretched across 2,500 acres of the ‘harshest and most inhospitable area of Northumberland.’

He said: “He has worked his entire life in the harsh and unforgiving environment on 2,500 acres.

“The nearest I could get to figuring out how far that is was looking at St James’ Park and extending the playing field out to what would be the equivalent of past Morpeth.”

For failing to dispose of dead stock during the initial visit of inspectors in 2017, Findlay was fined £250.

He was fined £416 for the same charge on the revisit in 2018. Findlay was given a 12-month conditional discharge for providing false information regarding the registration of the cattle.

He was ordered to pay court costs of £2,000 and a victim’s surcharge of £41.