A farmer whose cows went on the run and trashed the gardens of a large country house has been convicted of breaching an order to guarantee they were kept secure.
John Dewi Floyd even tried to claim some of the livestock was not his after the herd trampled the gardens of businessman Tim Holt’s home.
Building company boss Mr Holt woke up one morning to discover the cows had caused extensive damage after straying from Floyd’s 300-acre Foel Las Farm near Errys in Mold .
It was one of a series of occasions when the animals went walkabout. One time, they got out when workmen left a gate open, and another time a tree had been brought down in a storm, damaging a fence.
But on other occasions Floyd, 53, said the animals were not his.
At Flintshire magistrates court on Friday, Floyd was shown a photograph of one gate. He agreed it was “not very good”, but said there was no livestock in that field at the time.
When one of the magistrates pointed out that two sheep could be seen in the field, he suggested that they must have strayed there from other farms.
“They must have wandered in,” he said.
Shown other photographs he said “they are not ours.”
He said that he was not a partner in the farm business and said his father, who was seriously ill, was a sole trader.
In evidence, he said that he worked hard as a farmer and also helped his mother look after his father.
When documents were produced which showed that he had signed as a partner he said they were not correct.
He claimed that he had not been aware of the terms of the order because he had put it in a cupboard without reading it.
Floyd alleged some malicious complaints had been made.
Police had called him late at night to say his animals were on the road when they were not.
Prosecutor Sheyanne Lee said that it was clear the animals came from the defendant’s farm, where the fences and gates were simply not secure.
Defending barrister Jade Tufail said that it was her client’s case that on many occasions the animals were not owned by him.
Floyd said in evidence that there had been instances when his animals had escaped.
The prosecutor said that the order had been signed by the defendant after cows strayed into Mr Holt’s property in the early hours of Boxing Day, 2015, and caused extensive damage during the five hours they were there.
In formal admissions before the court the defendant agreed the cows were his, she said.
But questioned in court, Floyd said that they were not.
He said that he should have taken legal advice before he signed any documents.
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Floyd, 53, denied breaching the order, claiming that in many instances the sheep and cows involved were not his.
But he was convicted at the end of a two day trial.
Magistrates said that they found the witnesses credible, the defendant had agreed that on occasions livestock had escaped and it was clear that his sheep did not always have identification marks on them.
It was not credible that other people’s sheep wandered onto his land, they said.
He was fined £500 with £300 costs and was ordered to pay a £50 surcharge.
The magistrates warned that he could have been fined up to £2,500 but they took into account that his income was very limited.
But they warned that if it happened again then no court would be so lenient and it was now vital that his fencing was “totally secure” to prevent a repetition.
They told Floyd that everyone needed some help now and again and said he should accept further help from the Community Payback scheme.
Floyd agreed that he had been assisted in putting up fences by the Community Payback scheme in the past.
But denied that he had refused any further help.
He said complaints were made about him when he was legitimately moving cows and a bull along the lane from on part of the holding to another.
“We have been getting problems when we are moving livestock legitimately. I am busy farming. I am not doing anything wrong,” he complained.
After the conviction, Miss Tufail said that there had been an impact on the farm since his father’s tragic illness and the upkeep of the farm had not been as good as when the two of them had been farming.
The farm was not making a profit, she said, and magistrates agreed that he pay off the penalty at £20 a month.
Source : DailyPost