A farmer who was banned from keeping livestock after being convicted of “harrowing” animal welfare charges has admitted chopping down 2,000 trees illegally.
Kerry McKenzie cleared a large wooded area on Drumligair Farm at Newmachar, on February 2 without having planning permission or a felling licence.
He was caught in the act by Forestry Commission officers, who had been tipped-off.
Yesterday McKenzie appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted illegally cutting down the 15-year-old trees.
The court heard that McKenzie, who runs a butcher’s shop in Aberdeen, had been attempting to clear the land to make way for a solar farm.
Fiscal depute Lynzi Souter said: “The Forestry Commission Scotland were informed of the felling action by an anonymous letter.
“A representative from the Forestry Commission visited the site regarding the allegations of illegal tree felling.
“There was tree felling ongoing at the time.
“This was stopped as there was no licence in place.”
McKenzie’s counsel, solicitor advocate, Robert McDonald said the timber, which he chopped himself, was worthless.
The 44-year-old, who also works offshore, had previously used the area for his cattle to graze before he was banned from keeping livestock.
In March this year McKenzie admitted six separate offences relating to the poor treatment of cattle.
Aberdeenshire Council, which raised the prosecution, said McKenzie had created a risk of disease to both livestock and humans.
The offences were committed at Greenhead and Old Wood farms at Drumligair and Meadowhead at Dyce between February and March last year.
McKenzie admitted failing to feed and care for vulnerable animals, poor disease control, and indiscriminate breeding.
He also accepted a charge that he confined cows to buildings without proper drainage and bedding, exposing them to hazardous and sharp objects.
McKenzie, of 3 Corsehill View, Parkhill, Dyce, Aberdeen admitted similar offences in May 2013 and was banned at that time for two years.
Yesterday Sheriff Alison Stirling deferred sentence for reports and he will return to court next month.