Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday [Thursday] sentenced a local farmer to one year in jail for conspiring to introduce a BSE-infected cow into a herd of healthy animals in order to claim compensation.

Bryan Wilson of Dunmanway, County Cork, was a farmer facing hard times as beef demand fell and the export market disappeared following the outbreak of BSE. The Court heard that his son, Andrew Wilson of Bandon, County Cork, was also involved in the fraud. Andrew Wilson received a suspended sentence.

It is believed that the Wilson farm was owed money by a third party, James Sutton of Kilgariffe, County Cork, but Sutton had inadequate funds to meet the debt. Together with Sutton, the Wilsons hatched a plan to introduce the infected animal into Sutton's herd. This would have allowed Sutton to claim for compensation from the Department of Agriculture, which he could have used to pay off his debts to the Wilsons.