AN animal transporter has been fined almost £15,000 after being stopped by a Barnsley Council officer.

Barnsley Magistrates' Court heard on July 3 that James Crowden, trading as Newark-based TC and BJ Crowden Ltd, was stopped during a routine transport check on October 9 of last year.

The animal health officer found two live cows were being transported to an abattoir in a dirty trailer without the relevant transporter authorisation and certificate.

Crowden's vehicle showed signs of dried-on dirt and faeces consistent with it not being cleaned out prior to the commencement of the journey.

After leaving the abattoir, he failed to wash and disinfect the trailer or sign a declaration form stating he would carry this out elsewhere, which is crucial in the prevention of spreading disease such as foot and mouth.

The court told Mr Crowden that this was a serious case and was concerned about the offences, given the risk of spreading diseases across the country.

After credit for his guilty plea, TC and BJ Crowden Ltd was fined a total of £12,500 plus full prosecution costs of £2,114.95 and a £120 victim surcharge, totalling £14,734,95.

A Barnsley Council spokesman said: "Animal health officers carry out vital work to prevent and spread the diseases such as foot and mouth and BSE.

"We will take appropriate action against hauliers who flout the law."