A HEREFORDSHIRE pet food company director has been handed a suspended prison sentence and his company fined tens of thousands of pounds after breaching health and safety law.

Finer By Nature Ltd appeared before magistrates in Kidderminster for sentencing in October after entering guilty pleas to four counts of contravening a health and safety regulation at an earlier hearing in April, while managing director Gary James Pitchford appeared for sentencing after admitting three counts of contravening a health and safety regulation at the previous hearing.

The court heard from the prosecutor that the business had employed two young persons without having made or reviewed a risk assessment made in accordance with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 at Whitestone on July 15, 2020.


It had also failed to comply with its duties under the same act by making a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to employee health and safety in relation to a Handmann VF80 vacuum filler machine and ensuring measures were taken to prevent access to any dangerous part of the same machine between July 9 and 16, 2020.

Pitchford, 56, had admitted being the managing director of the company at the time the two young persons were employed and that the offences relating to them had been committed with his consent or were attributable to his neglect.

The offence of failing to take measures to ensure access to dangerous parts of the Handmann VF80 machine had also been committed with his consent or was attributable to his neglect, the court heard.

The case against the pet food company had been brought to court by the Health and Safety Executive.

Pitchford, of Stoke Lacy, Bromyard, was handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 180 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay a £95 victim surcharge.

Finer By Nature Ltd, of Whitestone Business Park, Whitestone, was fined £34,000 for the offences and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £4,564.15 and a £190 victim surcharge.