A COUNTY farmer has been fined for keeping pigs and a calf in unsuitable conditions without access to clean water.

William Edward Hyde, 68, of The Furlongs Farm, Little Hereford, pleaded guilty to four animal welfare offences at Hereford Magistrates’ Court last week.

Hyde was fined a total of £900 for the offences and ordered to pay £3,000 costs with a £30 victim surcharge.

He also signed an undertaking to follow the welfare codes of practice for keeping pigs and cattle. The case came about after Herefordshire Council animal welfare officers visited The Furlongs in January 2017.

During the visit they found that a number of pigs and a calf had unsuitable living conditions and did not have access to clean water.

During sentencing on June 28, District Judge Cadbury told Hyde that due to his health issues and age it is clear that Hyde cannot cope with livestock and should retire.

The judge dismissed the suggestion that Hyde was being picked on by the council, and said that it was apparent that Herefordshire Council were only acting in the best interest of the animals.

Marc Willimont, head of regulatory and development management services, said: “Herefordshire Council do not take any prosecution lightly and, in the case of farmers, will only take formal court action when all other avenues to improve animal welfare on the farm have failed.

“Our officers are aware that, as some members of the farming community become elderly, they may no longer have the family support to assist them which historically many farmers could rely upon.

“In such cases our animal health officers will actively try to help by working with these farmers to improve welfare, both animal and human, by signposting farmers to organisations which can assist them in times of need. “Herefordshire Council also recognise the contribution made by farmers to both the local community and its economy.”

If any farmers are struggling or if you have any worries about other members of the rural community, such as neighbours or relatives, then council would encourage contact with one of the organisations below:

• The Farm Community Network: 03000111999 or http://www.fcn.org.uk/

• The Borderlands Rural Chaplaincy: 07958591646: https://borderchaplain.org/

• The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I.) on 08082819490 http://rabi.org.uk/

• For wellbeing information and signposting to local services, visit WISH at www.WISHerefordshire.org.