THE farm attraction at the centre of an E-coli outbreak in 2014, which left more than 20 children unwell, is the subject of a management buy-out.
The existing firm behind Huntley’s Country Store in Samlesbury is being liquidated to allow the management buy-out to take place but it is continuing to trade as normal.
In 2014, four children were hospitalised after contracting E. coli during a lamb feeding event at the attraction.
In total, 22 youngsters fell ill and there were 15 confirmed cases of E.coli following the ‘Lambing Live’ gathering between March 29 and April 24.
In December 2015, the firm pleaded guilty to three breaches to health and safety rules at the event.
The firm was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £60,000 costs.
In November last year its managing director Harry Wilson appeared before Blackburn Magistrates Court to ask for more time to pay the an outstanding £100,000.
A number of cases brought against the company and its insurers by families of the children affected are still outstanding.
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Yesterday the company issued a statement saying: “The Company Huntley's Country Stores Ltd has been liquidated by Lawson Fox Business Recovery Ltd, to allow a Management Buy-out to take place.
“All Huntley's outlets on site are unaffected and it is business as usual for our customers.”
Jill Greenfield, of Fieldfisher solicitors based in London, said yesterday: “I am currently dealing with several cases involving children affected by the incident at Huntley’s Country Stores in 2014.”
She won more than £1 million when she represented ten children affected by an E.coli outbreak at a petting farm in Surrey in 2009.
Mr Wilson and his company have several times expressed their ‘deep regret’ at the incident which also left a member of its staff ill.
At November’s hearing, the magistrates ordered Huntley’s should pay £1,000 every month up to and including this month before returning to the £5,000 every three months.
Prosecutors said there were 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 after the event.