Bogus horse vet who scammed £50k out of clients is jailed for two years

  • A “bogus” vet has been jailed for two years for treating horses, dogs and even people without qualifications.

    Russell Lewis Oakes, 43, of Shore Road, Hesketh Bank, Preston, was arrested in March 2008 after botching the castration of a Welsh pony.

    He was found to be practising as both a vet and a doctor using fake certificates and charged with 84 offences related to fraud by false representation as a medical doctor, fraud by false representation as a veterinary surgeon, deception, sexual assault, cruelty to animals, perverting the course of justice and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

    Yesterday — Monday, 11 January — Russell Oakes was sentenced to two years in prison by Liverpool Crown Court, after admitting 41 charges.

    The other charges were dropped by the prosecution, including animal cruelty and offences of sexual assault relating to an internal examination he performed on a 17-year-old girl who had damaged her pelvis after a riding accident.

    The court heard that Oakes — a registered osteopath — could have earned as much as £50,000 from “Formby Equine Vets”, a bogus practice he ran from an equestrian yard at Warren Farm, Formby, Merseyside.

    Police were tipped off about Oakes by vets in the area who had become concerned about the standard and quality of his veterinary work.

    In March 2008 local vet Seamus Miller told H&H he had concerns about Oakes since the day he set up Formby Equine Vets.

    Oakes had registered as a vet in the UK after buying a fake degree certificate on the internet.

    The court heard how, during the botched castration of the Welsh pony in March 2007, Oakes fumbled over administering anaesthetic and cut the animal’s artery.

    Prosecuting, Henry Riding said: “He attempted to rectify the bleed with rubber bands and a clamp designed for castrating young lambs.”

    The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons cannot instantly strike Oakes from its register, and declined to comment until a disciplinary hearing has taken place.

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