Fine imposed for illegal storage of Cymag

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On 11 January 2010 at Norwich Magistrates Court, George Farrow was convicted of an offence relating to the storage of an unapproved pesticide product – Cymag (sodium cyanide).

This conviction follows proceedings taken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Mr Farrow pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined £600.

Mr Farrow’s premises were visited as part of a Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) enquiry into the death of a barn owl. During the visit a number of unapproved pesticide products were identified.

An Enforcement Notice was issued against Mr Farrow directing him to safely dispose of these unapproved products via a licensed waste disposal company. However, Mr Farrow did not comply with the Notice and this lead to the decision to prosecute for the illegal storage of Cymag. The decision to prosecute was deemed appropriate because of the significant safety issues relating to the unapproved product and also to its storage at an unsecure premises – in a caravan on his holding.

Products containing sodium cyanide were approved in the UK for rabbit and rat control by trained users. Approval for sale, use and storage of these products was revoked in December 2004.

Natural England on behalf of the HSE, wish to emphasise the dangers to humans posed by the continuing storage of this banned fumigant.


Cymag tin
 As the can deteriorates, so the risks increase

Paul Butt, senior specialist with the Wildlife Management & Licensing Team said: “Despite having lost all approvals for storage and use in December 2004, old stocks of Cymag are still being discovered. These have been found in a number of unsuitable and poor storage situations and as the packaging deteriorates, there is an increasing possibility of gas being released, so creating a poisoning risk to anyone coming into contact. The only legal and safe way of disposing of this material is to obtain the services of a licensed pesticide waste contractor.”

Cymag caravan store
A number of unapproved products were found in this highly inappropriate ‘store’

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