A horse trader has been hit with fines and court costs of almost £4,500 at Durham Crown Court after admitting selling horses illegally.

Philip McAteer of West View Farm, Cockfield, Co Durham, sold one horse with a broken pelvis, another with behavioural problems that made it unrideable to a riding school and falsified the ages of two other animals. He failed to provide passports for any of them.

McAteer was investigated by Durham County Council’s trading standards department after complaints from people who had bought horses from the dealer.

Judge Christopher Prince did not award compensation, instead advising McAteer’s disgruntled customers to pursue the matter through the civil courts.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (19 May, 2011)