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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Horse sanctuary fined over poison
An animal sanctuary faces a 45,500 bill in fines and costs after admitting three workers were exposed to a potentially lethal toxin.

The men were struck down at Redwings Horse Sanctuary near Norwich while stacking bales in a barn which had been treated with rat poison.

Three of the worst affected staff had to make their own way to hospital.

Judge Fraser Morrison at Norwich Crown Court refused to accept mitigation the sanctuary was unaware of the poison.

Adrian Nottage, one of the Redwings staff most seriously affected by fumes from a rat poison called Phostoxin, was sacked a month after the incident at the barn and has now been diagnosed with clinical depression.

Vermin problem in barn

In a report to the court the other two men were described as suffering from breathing difficulties and other disorders.

The sanctuary admitted at an earlier hearing failing to ensure the safety of Mr Nottage of Tasburgh, Leslie Lawrence of Aylsham, David Doy of Saxlingham Thorpe and other unnamed people.

At that hearing the court heard managers Edward Platts and Graham Parkinson had been told by general manager Philip York to "sort out a vermin problem at a donkey barn" at one of the leased farms.

Neither of the two managers had any training in the use of poisons but they broke into a security cabinet with bolt croppers to find the rat poison which they dispensed in the barn without telling anyone.

Phostoxin gives off fumes which are potentially lethal and is approved for outdoor use only.

When the workers went into the barn unaware of the danger they became ill.

Both of the managers must pay 2,910 each and this includes fines of 1,400.

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