PICTURES have been released of the trees that Herefordshire farmer John Price felled despite having no licence to do so. 

The 69-year-old, of Day House Farm, Kingsland, pleaded guilty to illegally felling a large area of alder, willow, hazel and thorn trees that were around 50 years old

Forestry Commission agents attended the site in February 2022  following a report that men with heavy machinery were clearing an area in woodland around Ryelands Farm in Brimfield.

Hereford Times: The area of woodland felled by contractors working on behalf of John PriceThe area of woodland felled by contractors working on behalf of John Price (Image: Crown Prosecution Service)

The men said they were working on behalf of Price and denied knowing they needed a licence to fell the trees. Price failed to respond to letters from the Forestry Commission and they discovered he was actually in prison for illegally clearing a large tract of land next to the bank of the river Lugg near his farm.

In April 2023, the farmer was jailed for 12 months, reduced to 10 after appeal. However, he only served less than three months. 


Price was back in court on Wednesday (January 31) when magistrates in Hereford heard about his latest offence. They fined him £1,750 and told him to pay court costs of £135 and a victim surcharge of £175 respectively. 

Prosecuting solicitor, Owen Beale said: "Heavy machinery was clearly used and will have a noticeable impact on residents.

"The trees felled provide a habitual corridor and cannot easily be replaced. It will take between 10 and 50 years to establish a tree of this nature."

Hereford Times: The trees included alder, willow, hazel and thorn that were around 50 years oldThe trees included alder, willow, hazel and thorn that were around 50 years old (Image: Crown Prosecution Service)

In defence, Adrian Roberts said Price did not intend to break any law, but accepted there was no detailed planning or formal agreement to carry out the work.

The case was prosecuted by a unit at CPS Mersey Cheshire that conducts cases of illegal tree felling investigated by the Forestry Commission.

Senior Crown Prosecutor George Ward said: “John Price earns a living from the land as a farmer but clearly has no real regard for it.

“He has broken the law on two occasions in quick succession and has been sentenced for further offending after a jail term for similar criminality.

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“In this latest case, the Crown Prosecution Service successfully argued in court that coppicing wouldn’t require the heavy machinery that was on site.

“What John Price had ordered the men to do was deforestation. When faced with the evidence Price remained silent and entered a guilty plea.

“The care of both agricultural and recreational land is controlled by the law and the CPS works with the Forestry Commission, the Police and other statutory agencies to uphold that law.”