A FORMER Pembrokeshire NFU Cymru county chairman and national dairy board chairman is thousands of pounds out of pocket after polluting part of the Western Cleddau.

Appearing before Haverfordwest magistrates last week for a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) prosecution, Mansel John Raymond, 61, of Jordanston Hall Farm, Letterston admitted polluting a tributary of the Cleddau on September 20, 2013 at his own farm.

Raymond denied a charge of failing to ensure slurry was stored to the correct regulations on the same date.

That charge was later withdrawn.

Prosecuting on behalf of NRW, Claire Sedgemond-Robert said the pollution in the area of special conservation was discovered during a routine visit to Raymond’s farm by NRW officers finalising details of a fencing scheme.

They noticed a ditch close to a stream at the farm smelt strongly of slurry. More than one kilometre of land and water in total was later found to be polluted.

The source of the pollution was traced to slurry escaping via a gully pot drainage system rather than being fed to a slurry pit.

It was described as “a wilful blindness to a risk of offending”.

Representing Raymond, Aled Owen said his client had fully co-operated with NRW, but disputed several issues after he commissioned his own report costing thousands to find the cause.

“The question of the management of the slurry is something which is disputed. Slurry is something of a valuable asset; the situation which has been described is something the farm would never want.”

“There is a fundamental dispute; not that pollution did enter the little brook but how it got there. While we accept there was pollution, it wasn’t from that source.

“This issue won’t happen in the future; the main factor which certainly caused this is the draining of dirty water from the main yard and from the road into the brook. The gully pot as we saw it was something of a red herring.”

He said ongoing works, which would include addressing the pollution issues, would cost some £75,000.

Magistrates accepted Raymond had been negligent rather than reckless in allowing the area to be polluted.

He was fined £665, together with costs of £3,156.94 and a Victim of Crime Surcharge of £67, offering full payment within 28 days.