Two British equestrian proprietors are accused of playing a part in Europe’s biggest illegal veterinary medicine scam, worth £6million.
Between them, Peter Lock, 53, of Colmar Farm Riding School in Brentwood, Essex, and Richard Jones, 60, of Henry Field Stud in Naunton Beauchamp, Worcs, deny 34 charges of importing illegal medicines from France and unlawfully distributing them in the UK.
“This is part of a massive case concerning the illegal importation and sale of unauthorised veterinary medicines,” prosecutor Andrew Marshall told Croydon Crown Court on 12 May.
He said a raid by authorities on a warehouse in France, owned by Ronald Meddes, 72, and Regine Lansley, 61, in early 2008 resulted in the biggest seizure of illegal veterinary medicine in Europe.
They were bosses of “Eurovet” [completely unrelated to the Cambridge-based firm ‘Eurovet Animal Health’] and allegedly sold the medicines — many of which originated in Australia and India — to Lock and Jones to distribute in the UK.
Meddes, Lansley and seven others have pleaded guilty to a number of charges and will be sentenced at the end of the trial.
The prosecution, brought by Defra, accuses Lock of buying £155,000 of medicines — including painkillers and anabolic steroids — between January 2004 and September 2008 and Jones £61,000 worth from January 2004.
“All these products went through the black market,” said Mr Marshall. “They were being distributed by people not licensed to do it, so others, who are not authorised to do so, could administer them.”
The court heard Meddes and Lansley operated companies under the Eurovet banner and when veterinary medicines, that covered 130 cubic metres, were seized by Defra in April 2008, they restarted the operation from Belgium.
Colmar Riding School was also raided and illegal veterinary medicines were found there, alleged Mr Marshall.
The trial continues.
This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (19 May, 2011)