Co Monaghan farmer William Cranston, from Drumnacrib, Skerrymore, Castleblayney, was given a nine-month suspended prison sentence after being convicted on appeal of handling stolen cattle.

At last Thursday’s sentence hearing in Trim Circuit Court, he was also given a €4,000 fine and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service. Imposing the sentence, Judge Sarah Berkely said Mr Cranston was highly culpable, must have premeditated the offence and that his case was at the higher end of this offence. He had a history of previous convictions, some of them recent and involving the Department of Agriculture, she said.