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Former farmer sentenced for animal welfare and fraud offences

21 September 2023

A former Cambridgeshire farmer has been sentenced to five years in prison for animal welfare and fraud offences.

On Tuesday 19 September, Ipswich Crown Court sentenced Wayne Parker, 36, previously of Mildenhall, Suffolk, to a total of five years in prison.

Wayne Parker’s sentence arises from successful convictions by both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards for animal welfare and disease control offences, and by Suffolk Trading Standards for Fraud.

Parker was also issued with a lifetime disqualification order preventing him from owning animals, keeping animals, participating in the keeping of animals and from being party to an arrangement under which he is entitled to control or influence the way in which animals are kept.

The sentencing comprised a 10 month custodial sentence for the animal welfare and disease control offences, a 2 month custodial sentence for failing to surrender to his bail and a 4 year custodial sentence for Fraud.

In the prosecution led by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards, Parker pleaded guilty to 19 offences at Peterborough Crown Court in October 2022 relating to animal welfare, failure to dispose of carcases and failure to keep records for disease control purposes.

Parker had previously received a suspended sentence when convicted by Suffolk Trading Standards in February 2020 for similar offences, and a subsequent un-related prosecution by Suffolk Trading Standards for Fraud in October 2022.

A livestock farmer, with the bulk of his farming business comprising grazing sheep for Welsh farmers, Parker hired grazing land for short periods of time, frequently moving the animals. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards started to investigate welfare complaints when Parker moved livestock to the Newmarket area.

Officers visited various sites in Cambridgeshire, including locations in Burrough Green and Kirtling, and found extensive suffering, with animals hungry, a large number infected. Despite extensive advice, little improvement was made and a month later formal legal notices were served. However, the suffering continued, and during subsequent visits, animals were found without water or sufficient food, and with untreated infections.

Jacqui Harvey, Head of Operations Environmental Health, Licensing & Trading Standards said “The level of suffering endured by the animals in Parker’s care is unimaginable and the gravity of these offences has been reflected by the Court in his sentencing.

“The welfare offences relate to failing to provide the fundamental basics for sustaining life – provision of food, water, shelter and veterinary care. Despite the issuing of legal notices by our officers, Parker persistently failed to provide these basics.”