A 74-year-old farmer from Yarcombe in Devon, Derek Dyer, has been ordered to pay over £15,000 and undergo 60 hours of unpaid community work due to his involvement in contaminating a private water supply with an illegal slurry store.

This verdict came after Dyer admitted to causing pollution and constructing an unlawful slurry store, according to the Environment Agency, which brought the case forward.

The contamination stemmed from a collapsed slurry store made from farmyard manure, resulting in widespread pollution of the River Isle and damage to surrounding areas.

The traces traveled over 400m from the store, and the track spanned up to 20m in some areas; marks left on fence posts were 12 inches in depth. The contamination impacted a wooded area where springs provide drinking water to several nearby properties.

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Elevated levels of E.coli and total coliforms were later confirmed in samples of the drinking water supply, prompting the estate to provide bottled water to residents.

South West Farmer: The slurry travelled through a local woodland (credits: Enviroment Agency)The slurry travelled through a local woodland (credits: Enviroment Agency)

The Environment Agency condemned Dyer's actions, referring to a 'flagrant disregard of the law' and emphasising the necessity for farmers to adhere to regulations to prevent such events.

District Judge Smith ordered Dyer to pay the total costs of £15,388 and a surcharge of £114.