FARM bosses are still counting the cost of an E.coli outbreak at an East Lancashire attraction which left more than 20 children falling ill.
The owners of Huntley’s Country Stores still owe more than £100,000 after being convicted of health and safety offences in December 2015.
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An investigation into the Easter 2014 outbreak at the Samlesbury site eventually led to the company being fined £60,000 with £60,000 costs at Preston Crown Court.
In total, 22 youngsters fell ill and there were 15 confirmed cases of E.coli following the Lambing Live gathering, the court heard.
Managing director Harry Wilson appeared before Blackburn magistrates to ask for more time to pay the financial penalties.
Magistrates were told that the outfit had repaid £14,800 of the court costs, leaving £45,120 outstanding. But the £60,000 fine was still owed, the court was told.
Mr Wilson told magistrates that the after effects of the publicity surrounding the E.coli case, which was brought by South Ribble Council, were still being felt by the business.
Questioned by magistrates about how the outstanding sums could be met, he said: “At the present moment we cannot afford any more because we are just starting to get the business going. It might be two years before we recover.”
Huntley’s had been previously ordered to pay £5,000 every three months.
Magistrates ordered that they should be required to find £1,000 every month instead, up to and including May 2017. The penalty would then resume at its previous rate.
Mr Wilson was warned that the court had a number of enforcement powers at its disposal - including a distress warrant for any outstanding totals if payments were not kept up.
Prosecutors said that there were a number of faults found with the lambing event, ranging from allowing wash hand basins for visitors being used to clean animal feeding dishes to children being allowed to roll around in faeces-covered straw in pens.
Four youngsters developed a deadly bug called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, causing kidney failure, and those affected were transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital for dialysis.