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Fine, compensation ordered over horse-cremation fraud

People paid Philip John Cooper hundreds of pounds to ensure a dignified cremation for their beloved animals.

The 69-year old then perpetrated what authorities described as a particularly nasty fraud, failing to deliver the service.

Cooper was sentenced in Gloucester Crown Court on Friday. He received an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years with a three-month curfew from 8am to 8pm.

In addition, he was ordered to pay £53,295, which included a £16,000 fine, full Trading Standards costs and compensation to 26 victims.

Cooper, of West Lydbrook, in Somerton, Somerset, and previously trading as John Cooper Livestock Services, was prosecuted in February 2011 as a result of inquiries by Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards.

These found that Cooper was charging owners the full cost of an individual animal cremation and then failing to deliver the service.

Cooper, a horse slaughterer, was found to have charged Bushy Equine Vets in Breadstone £920 to individually cremate horses. At that time, he was also invited to disclose other related offences, but declined to do so.

Publicity surrounding this case led to three further complaints from customers in Gloucestershire being received by Trading Standards. These were for individual cremations undertaken before 2008 for £552.25 each.

These matters had not been taken into consideration at the time of the first case, so Trading Standards investigated the complaints.

On October 1 this year, in Cheltenham Magistrates Court, Cooper admitted four further counts of fraud relating to horses that had been taken for individual cremation, with 22 other charges to be taken into consideration.

Cooper retired from the business in 2011 after the first case.

The head of Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards, Eddie Coventry, said: “Mr Cooper’s practices took advantage of vulnerable people at a time of loss and grieving for financial gain.

“He had an opportunity to set the record straight at the time of the first hearing but chose not to.

“We felt this was a particularly nasty fraud which was appropriate for us to revisit when new information came to light.”

Councillor Will Windsor-Clive, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “Protecting the vulnerable and reducing criminal activity is the key priority for our Trading Standards team.

“This type of fraud is hugely upsetting for victims and the complaints we receive are important in helping officers to identify the people involved and learn more about how and where they are operating.”

 

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Comments (2)

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  1. Sam says:

    Hi, Thankyou for reporting this. My horse was one of the four that were investigated as part of the second case. It’s been a horrid experience but if it has raised awareness of the importance of checking the person and place you trust you animals remains too, then at least some good has come of it.

  2. Rob says:

    This man also collected my wife’s horse for an individual cremation. It cost a fair amount, not to mention doing this while people are grieving the loss of their animals. I’m shocked that someone could be so dishonest.

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