Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Fraudster farmer faces wait to find out fate of cattle

Post Thumbnail

A Deeside farmer jailed for a £650,000 tax fraud will find out next week if her herd of cattle is to be destroyed.

Ella Thom was locked up for 27 months last December, after admitting she had defrauded HM Revenue and Customs out of nearly £658,000 over more than six years.

Aberdeenshire Council’s animal welfare officers stepped in to care for the animals, and last month the authority was granted a court order allowing them to sell 48 of the herd to recoup their costs.

However, the remaining 100 are unable to be sold as they do not have the proper registration paperwork or passports, meaning they cannot be moved or entered into the food chain.

Yesterday, the council returned to court seeking permission to destroy the animals, which have no commercial value.

The court heard the authority is spending about £2,000 a week on feed for the beasts, which are still on the land Thom rented at the Learney Estate, near Torphins.

Council solicitor Robin Taylor said: “They are surviving by virtue of the council paying for them. The council cannot, and should not, have to do that.”

However, Sheriff Andrew Brown was reluctant to issue the order after hearing from vet Robert Temple that the health of the animals had improved since the council stepped in.

Mr Temple told Aberdeen Sheriff Court: “We’ve been monitoring the welfare of the animals at the premises. They are doing well.

“That’s under the care of Aberdeenshire Council. They are being fed well and there are competent staff monitoring their health and wellbeing.”

The court heard Thom – who is due to be released from prison next month – has asked two friends to look after the herd in her absence in a bid to save them.

Sheriff Brown said he appreciated it was a “burden” on the local authority to continue paying for the beasts, but continued the case for a week to allow Thom’s representatives to explain to him how they plan to care for them.

He warned Thom, who represented herself yesterday, that he was making “no promises” about the future of the animals, and said if he and animal welfare officers were not satisfied by the proposals, the order was likely to be granted – no matter his “reluctance and hesitancy”.

He added: “I would be loathe to see good and healthy animals destroyed, but the approach by the council cannot go on forever.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in