Gauntlet thrown down by officials over illegal pesticide storage

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Workers who use pesticides are now being warned they risk being prosecuted if they fail to follow the law for storing them safely.

This fresh warning to store pesticides safely comes from Natural England and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).It comes following the successful prosecution of two recent cases.

The first involved Allan Armistead of Hulleter Farm, Ulverston who was fined £7,000 and sentenced for offences under the Food and Environment Protection Act and the Firearms Act on 6 January 2012 at Preston Crown Court.

Mr Armistead was fined for seven counts of storing unapproved pesticide products, including strychnine, Cymag and Rentokil Phostoxin, and was sentenced to 140 hours of community service for firearms offences. In addition to the fine costs of £2,315 were awarded against Mr Armistead.

The second involved Andrew Bray, from Heachem in Norfolk. Mr Bray carries out rabbit and fox control on farms across West Norfolk and was fined £1,000 over two pesticide offences.

Norfolk police officers found nine pesticide containers of aluminium phosphide stored in an unlocked garden shed when they searched Mr Bray’s home where he lived with his young son, on 9 January 2012.

Eight of the containers held Luxan Talunex, which is no longer authorised for storage and use in the UK, and the other one held Rentokil Phostoxin. The pesticides had not been stored in a metal or fire-resistant cabinet and there was no warning sign on the unlocked shed.


Illegal storage Found in a Norfolk garden shed! Eight containers of Luxan Talunex and one of Phostoxin

Some of the containers had been opened and resealed after use – a practice which could have led to the release of a dangerous gas if they had come into contact with water. The labels on many of the containers were also decayed and difficult to read. 

Natural England’s wildlife management senior specialist, Dr Ed Blane, commented: “This case underlines the importance of correctly storing fumigant pesticides and the need to dispose of products which have lost their approval. People have died as a result of unsafe storage and use of fumigant products. Anyone who uses or stores these products must be properly trained. There is no excuse for storing such toxic pesticides in the manner found in this case. Products which are no longer approved should be correctly disposed of.” 

Dangers clear to see
If ever the clear danger of inappropriate storage of products such as these mentioned in both cases – namely aluminium phosphide – was needed, look no further than the recent court case in Scotland of a man who committed suicide.

The case was hearing evidence concerning Gerald McNally, 48, of The Riggs, Fort Augustus, who died in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness on Friday 13 August 2010 following the ingestion of Phostoxin which he stored in a kitchen cupboard at home!

To read about the case in full click here.

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