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Glossop farmer fined for leaving dead animals on a bonfire

Published: 30 May 2022

A Derbyshire farmer has been fined £1,000 after being found guilty of failing to correctly dispose of animal carcasses which could have posed a risk to public and animal health.


David Arthur Naylor, (69), of Blackshaw Farm, Glossop received the fine after being found guilty of 2 charges relating to his failure to deal with dead livestock in accordance with Animal By Products legislation by a jury at Derby Crown Court on Friday (27 May 2022), following a prosecution brought by our Trading Standards.

Naylor, who represented himself throughout the proceedings, was acquitted of 2 other matters of a similar nature.

Trading standards officers started the investigation following a visit to Naylor’s farm in December 2019 which was prompted by a phone call from a concerned member of the public who reported that they had seen the remains of dead sheep on a bonfire.

During a 5-day trial the court heard that upon examining the open bonfire site, trading standards officers found sheep remains including 23 heads and other body parts in varying states of decomposition. During the same visit officers also found the carcasses of a dead cow and approximately 15 dead sheep in an uncovered trailer at the other side of the farm, contrary to regulations requiring it to be covered in order to prevent access by birds and animals to reduce the risk of disease being spread. Disposing of dead animals in such a manner is prohibited and contrary to legislation designed to protect public and animal health and ensure the integrity of the food chain.

Naylor told the court that the remains of four sheep left in a white tote bag on top of the open bonfire site were the parts left over after he had butchered them to feed to his farm dogs. He explained that the rest of the remains, namely sheep heads and other body parts were parts of animals that had previously been fly tipped elsewhere on his land.

The jury unanimously found him guilty of the offences relating to 19 decomposed sheep heads and associated body parts found on the open bonfire site and failure to cover his dead stock trailer to ensure that no animal or bird had access to them. He was acquitted on the count relating to the remains of four sheep left in the white tote bag on top of an open bonfire site and another count relating to the inappropriate disposal of animal products.  

The sentencing judge, Recorder S Sprawson, recognised that Naylor was a “hardworking and industrious farmer” who had let himself “down through complacency” by not focusing with intensity on his responsibilities as a farmer. It was recognised that the offences were out of character, with the judge highlighting “complacency means trouble”. Recorder Sprawson told Naylor that he had placed himself in a position where he could be subject to greater scrutiny in the future.

Our Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said:

“We welcome the sentence of the court as it is clear this has been treated as a serious matter.

“Our trading standards officers have worked hard to bring this successful prosecution and the result sends out a clear message to others that they must follow the strict regulations which are in place.

“Failing to dispose of dead animals in the correct way, leaving them decomposing on a bonfire and in an open trailer are serious offences which posed a threat to public health and the health of other animals due to the potential transmission of disease. Coming across such a scene would also have been very distressing.”