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Farm company fined after hundreds of fish poisoned

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Farm company fined after hundreds of fish poisoned

Date of alert:

Crime Ref:

Force:

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

West Mercia Police

A farm company has been substantially fined after hundreds of fish were killed by pollution.

The Worcestershire company was fined £120,000 together with costs of nearly £30,000.

Officers from the Environment Agency were first alerted to the situation in February 2018 when members of the public discovered dead fish in Piddle Brook near Redditch.

An investigation discovered a faulty pipe had started to discharge anaerobic digestate into the watercourse from nearby Rotherdale Farm, which is run by the company.

Officers were told that the company used a lagoon to store digestate and used an underground pump system to spread liquid as a fertiliser.

Around 220 dead fish were discovered in Piddle Brook and another 100 at a marina further down the watercourse.

Farm employees said they did not maintain records of the volumes in the lagoon and had no maintenance record either of the lagoon or pipework.

A further offence was recorded in May of 2018 when company officials notified the Environment Agency that foam had been reported in Piddle Brook.

An investigation revealed that sugar beet discharge, being used to irrigate a field, had started to spill into the watercourse from a faulty pipe.

No dead fish were recorded on this occasion and the farm took immediate steps to fix the faulty pipe.

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