A farmer has been fined for the second time for polluting the River Frome.

Michael Aylesbury, a director of Cross Keys Farms Ltd, has been ordered to pay more than £25,000 for polluting the Somerset river.

Cross Keys Farms Ltd pleaded guilty to causing an unpermitted discharge of slurry in August 2020.

This polluted the river, killing more than 120 adult fish, including many large pike, roach and chub.

In 2017 Aylesbury was found guilty of polluting this same stretch of the River Frome in 2016, killing more than 1,700 fish.

Members of the public alerted the Environment Agency to the pollution on August 20, 2020 and local residents carrying out ‘citizen science’ river monitoring provided helpful evidence for the investigation.

Reminded of the 2016 pollution incident, the sight of dead and dying fish distressed many people.

One local fisherman described feeling ‘physically sick’ from the strong putrid smell of dead fish and said the sight of the dead fish was ‘heartbreaking’.

Andy Grant, Environment Officer, said: "It was very disappointing to find another pollution from Bellow Farm following a previous prosecution for a major incident.

"The river was just beginning to recover and the fish population was showing signs of improving.

"Informing us of the slurry spillage and keeping an eye on nearby watercourses are two simple actions the farmer should have taken to protect the local environment.

"We restocked the river following the 2016 incident and it is so disappointing to see that work undone."

The pollution came from slurry that had been washed out of a soiled cattle trailer and rinsed out on to a concrete yard at Bollow Farm, Silver Lane, East Woodlands.

Also, a pile of slurry left open to the elements was washed into the surface water drain, ending up in the river.

Environment Officers found the ditch and river smelt strongly of slurry and low in dissolved oxygen.

Investigations also showed that the slurry pollution resulted in the death of most invertebrates over more than 2.6 kilometres downstream.

The case was heard at North Somerset Magistrates Court on June 28, 2022.

Aylesbury was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,631.08.