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: Row after port turns away lorry full of live sheep..UK 31.8.2012
: WA Export News September 01, 2012, 05:57:43 PM
Row after port turns away lorry full of live sheep
Friday, August 31, 2012   

A LORRY carrying hundreds of sheep was stranded at the Port of Ramsgate for more than eight hours on Wednesday after officials uncovered a catalogue of violations.

Wednesday was the first time a lorry has been turned away at the port since live exports resumed from the council-owned port last year. The debacle meant the animals faced an even longer journey as they returned to their point of origin.

Reg Bell, of Thanet Against Live Exports, says the incident, which was dragged out from 8.30am to 4.30pm, highlighted the need for a control post.

He said: "We feel angry that there is nowhere for the animals to go in this situation other than back to where they came from.

"There needs to be a control post where animals can rest and be fed near Dover. It is crazy that there isn't one. It is absolutely ludicrous there is no proper control post at any of the major Channel ports. It shows how there are no proper facilities for emergencies."

The live export ship Joline came into port at 4.30am and took on one lorry and a camper van. The second lorry arrived at 7.30am but was refused permission to sail.

RSPCA inspector Caroline Doe said: "Two lorries came down. One loaded and sailed but inspectors from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and the police refused to let it continue its journey.

"The lorry had to  go back where it came from as the one tyre was found to be unsafe and unroadworthy. The spare the lorry had on it was found to be defective. There were also issues with animal welfare. We found problems with the feeders and the loading gate was insecure."

The Joline left at 9.40am with just one lorry.

Kent Police Chief Inspector Martin Broadley said: "When the lorry came into port we found there was an issue with the tyre and decided, in accordance with normal procedures, that the vehicle was not roadworthy. There were also issues regarding animal welfare being investigated by the RSPCA and AHVLA."

The lorry, which was Dutch, had to wait until 4.30pm for new wheels to arrive before it could leave to return to Kettering in Northhamptonshire.

Mr Broadley said nobody had been charged in relation to the incident.

The RSPCA said no penalty was issued other than the lorry having been refused permission to sail.

Ian Birchall is  co-founder of Kent Action Against Live Animals Exports (KAALE) which  campaigns against live animal exports in Ramsgate and Dover.

He said he was concerned the driver could not have had sufficient rest breaks.

He said: "We understand the driver had set out from Kettering in the early hours of the morning. If that is the case he should not have been driving back. The time he spent stopped in the port should not be considered as a rest break. We contacted the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency but they just don't seem interested."

Councillor Ian Driver, who has been active in the campaign to end live exports from the port, said: "I think it is absolutely outrageous and shows that Ramsgate is not a suitable port. What do you do if there are emergencies such as this?"

Thanet council is opposed to live exports in principal but has said it does not have the legal power to stop them.

Alan Poole, ward councillor for Sir Moses and Montifiore Ward which includes the port, said: "It is unacceptable. It brings into question whether Ramsgate is a suitable port." (