A Herefordshire farmer has admitted organizing the illegal felling of trees just before being jailed for another environmental crime.
John Price, of Kingsland, was fined £1,750 and ordered to pay more than £300 in costs.
He pleaded guilty at Hereford Magistrates’ Court to illegally felling a large area of almost 50-year-old alder, willow, hazel and thorn trees near Ludlow.
Mr Price was previously sentenced to 12 months in prison for hiring miners and bulldozers to illegally tear down trees along the River Lugg in Hereford.
The Crown Prosecution Service said Forestry Commission officers were alerted in February 2022 that men with heavy machinery were clearing woodland around Rylands Farm, near the Herefordshire and Shropshire border. It is said that
The men said they worked for Price and denied knowing they needed a permit to log trees.
The 69-year-old, who lives at Day House Farm, did not respond to a letter from the Forestry Commission, which later discovered he had already served time in prison for a previous conviction.
CPS said Mr Price told a judge on Wednesday that he had instructed his workers to “cut down” the tree, which was legal, but the court rejected this.
In April 2023, he was sentenced to 12 months in prison, which was later reduced to 10 months on appeal and ordered to pay £600,000 in prosecution costs.
Natural England and the Environment Agency said the cutting of the River Lugg was the worst riverside destruction the group had ever experienced.
Senior prosecutor George Ward said: “John Price makes his living off the land as a farmer but clearly has no real interest in the land.”
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