A horse trader from north Staffordshire who used a registered vet’s details fraudulently to obtain passports to sell his animals has been ordered to pay more than £3,500 in compensation, writes Amy Mathieson.

Mark Allman, 54, of Madeley Heath Farm, Madeley, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of fraud at Stafford Crown Court on 15 October.

Allman used the registration details of Moorlands vet Ian Elkington and a business stamp from Mr Elkington’s practice, Moorlands Veterinary Centre in Leek, to obtain horse passports from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Allman was handed a two-year prison sentence — suspended for two years on each of the 11 offences — plus 200 hours unpaid community work, to be done in 12 months.

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He was also ordered to pay £4,226 costs and compensation totalling £3,720.

The prosecution was brought by Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards animal health team, which was alerted when one of the victims tried to trace a horse they had bought.

The signature on the horse’s passport had apparently been signed by vet Ian Elkington, but further investigations revealed that Mr Elkington had been on holiday on the date the passport was signed, meaning he could not possibly have signed it.

“Mark Allman went to great lengths to obtain passports for the horses he sold, using the name of a reputable vet and even going to the lengths of getting a business stamp made,” said county councillor Gill Heath.

“Horses cannot be bought or sold without a passport by law, so by getting these passports, Mr Allman was able to sell a total of 10 horses and make an estimated £29,000.

“We are grateful that due to the vigilance of one buyer, we have been able to bring him to justice and alert the public to these issues.”

Ref: H&H 3/12/15