A Co Down farmer has been given a two-month prison sentence with two years suspended for a range of offences, including illegally importing animals, Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture has reported.

William Cranston, of Aughnagurgan Road, Altnamackin, Newry, was sentenced on Monday at Newry Magistrates’ Court.

Cranston pleaded failing to dispose of an animal carcase and two charges of failing to notify the Department of the movement of 101 animals off his holding.

Illegally importing animals

The farmer also pleaded guilty to eight charges of illegally importing animals into Northern Ireland from another member state without the animals being accompanied by a completed health certificate and one charge of failure to keep a herd register.

He was also one charged with moving animals into his herd while the herd was under a tuberculosis restriction.

Mr Cranston had previously pleaded guilty to all charges. He received two months' imprisonment suspended for two years and was fined £500 plus £30 offender levy.

This case arose from a number of discrepancies discovered during a joint north-south operation involving officers from the Departments of Agriculture and police forces in Northern Ireland and in the Republic.

The Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland confirmed to the Irish Farmers Journal that Cranston was the same person convicted in the Republic last year for handling stolen cattle.