More than 400 fish were killed because a Dorset farm owner was unaware effluent from his silage clamp was discharging into a river.

Jasper Miller, 52, of Lower Fifehead Farm in Fifehead St Quintin, pleaded guilty to causing an incident which saw the River Divelish, a tributary of the River Stour, polluted for over 3km between June 25 and June 29, 2019.

He was fined £1,300 and ordered to pay costs of £6,079 at North Somerset Magistrates Court on June 14, 2021.

The court heard from the Environment Agency that a member of the public reported seeing dead fish and officers went to investigate.

Tracking the pollution upstream, they eventually found silage effluent discharging from a pipe connected to the farm.

Dye tracing established the link between the silage clamp and the pipe and Miller admitted that the wrong pipe had been unblocked, leading to the discharge.

To mitigate the impact he began removing polluted water for proper disposal by tanker.

Sara Durden of the Environment Agency said:

“We are grateful to the person who alerted us to the pollution which set in motion the events that led to stopping this incident.

“Good intelligence sent to us through our hotline is more important than ever because it allows us to react accordingly and take the appropriate action.

We take incidents of agricultural pollution very seriously and while most cases can be resolved by following guidance, we will take enforcement if the offence is serious.”

This incident could have been avoided if proper maintenance and checks to the drainage system had been made prior to the silage clamp being filled.