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Workington,
Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ

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Tourism company pleads guilty to health and safety failings

20 March 2016

A tourism company has been fined after a member of the public was injured by a red deer stag at one of its attractions. 

Carlisle Magistrates Court heard on 16 March 2017 how, on Sunday 25th October 2015 a man sustained horrific injuries after visiting the ‘farm’ at Solway Holiday Village with his family. On entering the Farm Walkway, the man was attacked by a red stag which had jumped over a fence and headed towards him. It was the red stag’s rutting season and he soon became aware that the stag was getting closer and it was stalking him. He told his wife and children to return to the farm buildings, before being attacked by the stag. The stag's antlers caused a 2-3 inch puncture wound to his buttock and thigh and puncture wounds to his ankle and knees, which required surgery in hospital.  

During the investigation it was found that the perimeter fencing installed at the site was not to the recognized industry standard height of 2m for deer enclosures and the deer on the farm had been known to jump over the fences and escape from their enclosure.

An investigation by Allerdale Borough Council found that Sam Hagan Leisure UK Ltd which runs Solway Holiday Village had failed to ensure the health and safety of its employees and people not in its employment on their premises. 

Sam Hagan Leisure UK Ltd, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974. These are Section 2(1) of the Act in that the company failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees, and also under Section 3(1) of the same Act where the company failed to ensure, as far as reasonable practicable, the health and safety of persons not in their employment. Both charges were in connection to the keeping of red deer. The company was fined £14,000 and in addition ordered to pay costs totaling £19,703.47.

Speaking after the hearing, Konrad Hansen, Executive Member with responsibility for health and safety said: "The stag caused shocking injuries to the member of the public and he continues to suffer from the incident which is unacceptable. Our thoughts are with him and his family. I welcome the outcome of the case which has come after the hard work of our officers. 

Employers must realise that they have a duty to ensure the safety of their staff and visitors and that if they fail to do this then they will face some very stiff penalties."

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0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ