YOU have had your say about whether Herefordshire farmer John Price should be freed from jail.

The 68-year-old, from Day House Farm in Kingsland, will spend the next 10 months in prison after carring out illegal works on the river Lugg.

The farmer used heavy machinery to dredge and reprofile a 1.5km stretch of the Lugg, destroying the riverbed and banks.

The works were in breach of several regulations, and in a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and persisted despite Price being issued with a stop notice.


Price was initially sentenced to 12 months in prison by district judge Ian Strongman last month.  

His defence team appealed the sentence, stating that Price's behaviour was 'reckless rather than deliberate'.

The appeal was heard by Judge Nicholas Cole, who said these were not minor breaches, but strike at the heart of the legislation that served to protect the environment.

Ballot result

Despite Price being jailed for 10 months, many of our readers believe that he should have been handed a lengthier sentence. 

Out of 3,288 votes cast, nearly half (48 per cent) said the sentence should have been longer, while only 158 people (five per cent) said it should have been shorter.

A further 27 per cent of people said Price should be freed from prison, with 21 per cent saying he should not. 

John Price's offences

In 1998, the court heard that Price put rubble against the river bank and was handed a warning. Later that year, he removed around 10 tonnes of gravel from the river without consent and when told he was committing a criminal offence, told officials 'to just forget about it'.

In 2007, he was fined for creating a dam to extract water for his potato crop, and in November 2018, he reprofiled the river and created flood barriers from material he scraped from the river. He was described as being hostile towards officials and was again reminded about his obligations.

In July 2020, Price was again issued with a warning regarding work he was carrying out, but in November 2020, he hired an 18-tonne bulldozer and used it to remove gravel from the river bed. Around 70 trees were uprooted and the banks were reprofiled.

Natural England says the water will proceed more rapidly to the next pinchpoint, such as a bridge, therefore causing flooding elsewhere.

On December 3, 2020, Price was issued with a stop notice. Price falsely said that he had permission.

In December 2021, Price embarked on further work nearer the bridge, using heavy machinery to remove gravel.


The court previously heard from Price's barrister Jo Sidhu KC that Price has autism and that his actions should be regarded as reckless, not deliberate, but Judge Cole said Price knew what he was doing and there is evidence he knew the difference between right and wrong.

He said Price also knew he was being investigated for earlier offences when he carried out the 2021 offences.

What are your thoughts?

You can send a letter to the editor to have your say by clicking here.

Letters should not exceed 250 words and local issues take precedence.

Price will serve up to half of his 10 month jail term before being considered for release. Once released, conditions will be attached. 

He has also been disqualifed from being a company director for three years and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £600,000. 

The court has also issued a restoration order for the river, which wcould cost around £700,000 and take years to complete.