A fourth generation sheep farmer who beat off thousands to secure a £1 National Trust tenancy has reached ‘the end of a nightmare’ after a four-day court case against him collapsed.
Nine allegations against Daniel Jones, 40, who won a competition to run the 145-acre Parc Farm on the Great Orme in Llandudno, Conwy, in 2016, were dropped on Friday (June 7) after he denied 11 charges of mismanagement brought by Conwy County Borough Council.
Prosecutors said the remaining two would no longer be pursued because they were not in the public interest.
Mr Jones said: “This whole experience has made me even more determined to finish the job I came here to do.”
Investigations were launched following a complaint from a member of the public about dead sheep, with the council suggesting Mr Jones had failed to dispose of three sheep carcases as well as failing to keep a register of animal movements.
The other offences were for failing to notify the authorities of animals he had received in the two years since he took over the tenancy.
In his defence, Mr Jones told Llandudno Magistrates Court that his two winters on the farm had been ‘very different’ – the first, a mild few months, with the latter having seen seven named storms pass through.
The ordeal has left him with a bill for £50,000 legal fees - borrowed from family - as well as the sale of 300 sheep and some farm machinery.
There was no concern about the welfare of the animals.
Mr Kirwan of Kirwans law firm, who defended Mr Jones, said the trial had put Mr Jones under ‘the most extreme levels of stress’.
He said: “Mr Jones deserved a medal for his community work, his contribution to local tourism, and for safeguarding the unique environment and ecology of the Great Orme; instead he received a nightmare during which there were times when his entire livelihood appeared to be at stake.”
The Farmers Union of Wales has since written to Conwy Council chief executive Iwan Davies to suggest its ‘aggressive approach’ to the situation must be investigated, with a thorough look into the decision to pursue the case.
A spokesperson for Conwy County Borough Council said responsibility for enforcement rests with local councils and it had a duty to investigate complaints about unrecovered carcases or concerns about the movement of livestock.
“A prosecuting authority is also under a duty to continually review the evidence as a trial proceeds and, in this case, the council made the appropriate decision to withdraw.”