On Thursday 30 October 1997, A RISHTON dairy farmer was jailed for two months for failing to meet hygiene standards and polluting a nearby stream. He put his wife in charge of the business.
John Barker, then 42 years old, of Moorside Farm, Churchill Avenue, was imprisoned for breaking food safety regulations, failing to comply with an improvement notice on a milk bottle-testing machine and polluting Shaw Brook with gas oil in February 1997.
Hyndburn magistrates sentenced him to two months for each of the offences, to run concurrently. Barker was convicted of four offences, including failure to keep areas of the farm clean, failure to comply with an improvement notice and the storage of refuse which attracted vermin.
Hyndburn's environmental health officers continued to monitor the dairy, which is now operating under father-of-four Barker's wife Julie.
The court heard how Barker had supplied a bottle of milk for sale in Blackburn which contained a one-inch square fragment of glass. Jane Morgan, prosecuting, told the court the gas oil pollution at the Paper Mill Lodge was from a faulty storage tank on Barker's farm.
A Hyndburn Council spokesman said "It was an indication of the seriousness of the offences that the magistrate decided a jail sentence was the only option." Duncan Nightingale, defending, said: "Barker had lost his business, his house and had debts of £100,000. He didn't believe he was a man who had wilfully gone out to cause injuries or wilfully caused the tank to leak."
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 30th October 1997.