Allotment holder fined over rat poison

An elderly allotment holder has been taken to court for keeping rat poison in a shed where he sold eggs to the public.Pensioner Roy Thetford (70) from Sheringham admitted three breaches of pesticide regulations and was ordered to pay �455 in fines and costs.

AN elderly allotment holder has been taken to court for keeping rat poison in a shed where he sold eggs to the public.

Pensioner Roy Thetford, 70, from Sheringham, admitted three breaches of pesticide regulations and was ordered to pay �455 in fines and costs.

His allotment next to the railway line at nearby Beeston Regis had an "eggs for sale" notice outside, with an honesty box, and was frequently visited by families with children and dogs, Cromer magistrates heard.

Police and a wildlife adviser visited the site after


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receiving information from

a policeman who lived in

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the area who had visited the shed with his children.

They found two tubs of rat poison - one open and unlabelled the other wrongly labelled, and a stick and spoon with poison residue on it, said Denis King prosecuting.

A second shed where chickens were kept had poison stains on the floor. The poisons, chlorophacinone and brodifacoum, were used and stored in contravention of regulations requiring them to be kept away from people and animals. The anti-coagulant chemicals could cause death from internal haemorrhaging though Mr King pointed out no-one was harmed in this case.

Thetford, of Weston Terrace, Sheringham, had never been in court before said his solicitor James Burrows, and did not realise the regulations existed.

He was trying to deal with a rat problem at the allotment and it was a matter of "lack of foresight and judgment".

One of the poisons was bought in a bag from a farmer and put in a tub. "The proper way is to buy traps and put poison in," added Mr Burrows.

As a grandfather of three he was upset about what could have happened, and had destroyed the poisons.

Thetford was told by chairman of the bench Gill Johnson his fines of �165 and �245 were reduced by a third because of his early plea - but could have gone up to a maximum of �5,000 for each offence.

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