A FARMER from Penpergwm has been punished to the tune of more than £125,0000 after committing 91 offences involving the movement of cattle under TB restrictions.

Beverley Baker, of Llangattock Park Farm, and trading as B E Baker & Sons Ltd, admitted 11 matters under the Animal Health Act. He asked for 80 other breaches to be taken into consideration.

The heavy punishment marks the end of a lengthy inquiry by officers from Monmouthshire's trading standards department.

Their animal health team established that numerous cattle had been moved illegally between premises during a period of TB restrictions.

This week Monmouth County Council said the premises had been under restriction for a number of years.

B E Baker & Sons were required to obtain a licence from the Animal Health Agency to move any cattle.

But this had not happened despite restriction notices clearly insisting on adhering to the requirement.

And last Friday at Cardiff Crown Court the company was subject to a Proceeds of Crime Order for £112,500 and costs of £13,000.

Conditional discharges were given for each offence.

Monmouthshire's cabinet member for public protection, Councillor Giles Howard, said there was a zero tolerance approach to non-compliance with TB legislation in the county.

He said, "The rules are there to protect both our livestock and agriculture industry - and this case demonstrates the important role that the trading standards service performs in protecting consumers, legitimate business and the economy."

Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop, commented, "The Welsh Government fully supports Monmouthshire County Council, as the relevant enforcement body for this case.

"This case shows that any attempt to undermine the Welsh Government's TB Eradication Programme will not be tolerated.

"We also recognise that these are isolated cases and that the majority of cattle keepers are working with us on the measures we are taking to eradicate bovine TB from Wales."