HEREFORDSHIRE farmer John Price has been sent back to prison after a judge slammed his 'outrageous' behaviour.

Price appeared back in court this afternoon to hear whether he would be serving the rest of his prison sentence.

The Kingsland farmer was jailed for 12 months by a district judge last month after illegal works to the river Lugg.

The farmer used heavy machinery to dredge and reprofile a 1.5km stretch of the Lugg, destroying the riverbed and banks.


The works were in breach of several regulations, and in a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and persisted despite Price being issued with a stop notice.

His appeal, which has taken two days but has been spread over two weeks, was adjourned last week as deliberations continued.

Price appeared before Judge Nicholas Cole at Worcester Crown Court this afternoon (May 17) to hear the verdict.

Judge Cole said these were not minor breaches, but strike at the heart of the legislation that served to protect the environment.

The judge said it was clear from character references that Price, who has assets worth more than £20 million, is held in high regard and runs a successful farm, but pointed out that he has previous convictions and shouldn't be treated as a man of good character.

In 1998, the court heard, Price put rubble against the river bank and was handed a warning. Later that year, he removed around 10 tonnes of gravel from the river without consent and when told he was committing a criminal offence, told officials 'to just forget about it'.

In 2007, he was fined for creating a dam to extract water for his potato crop, and in November 2018, he reprofiled the river and created flood barriers from material he scraped from the river. He was described as being hostile towards officials and was again reminded about his obligations.


In July 2020, Price was again issued with a warning regarding work he was carrying out, but in November 2020, he hired an 18-tonne bulldozer and used it to remove gravel from the river bed. Around 70 trees were uprooted and the banks were reprofiled.

Natural England says the water will proceed more rapidly to the next pinchpoint, such as a bridge, therefore causing flooding elsewhere.

On December 3, 2020, Price was issued with a stop notice. Price falsely said that he had permission.

In December 2021, Price embarked on further work nearer the bridge, using heavy machinery to remove gravel.

The court previously heard from Price's barrister Jo Sidhu KC that Price has autism and that his actions should be regarded as reckless, not deliberate, but Judge Cole said Price knew what he was doing and there is evidence he knew the difference between right and wrong.

He said Price also knew he was being investigated for earlier offences when he carried out the 2021 offences.

"He blatantly disregarded the law," said Judge Cole, labelling Price's behaviour as 'outrageous' and persistent, and telling Price that there was no justification for his 'selfish and ignorant' actions.

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Summing up, the judge said he had taken into account Price's autism and that he is held in high regard in his community, and that Price doesn't pose a risk to the public nor does he have a poor history of complying with court orders.

But, because of a background of warnings, there is a deterrent needed that these laws are there to protect the environment, the judge said.

Price bowed his head as he listened to the judge.

Price, of Day House Farm, Kingsland, was jailed for 10 months. He will serve up to a half of this before he is considered to be released. Once released, conditions will be attached.