Bailiffs move in to list Janet's goods

Bailiffs after £17,000 of property have visited the home of a Mid Wales campaigner who waged a single-handed battle against the Government's foot and mouth disease livestock culling policy.

Janet Hughes, of Churchstoke, and her 12 year-old son Matthew had to watch helplessly as the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs bailiffs made a list of the possessions they could take away.

Miss Hughes' Ford Fiesta car, Matthew's electric car and outdoor equipment such as their lawnmower, could all be taken away at anytime within the next five days.

Defra claim they have no option but to take Miss Hughes' possessions to recover taxpayers money, after she failed to pay their court costs.

But Miss Hughes said she will padlock the possessions and move them inside and will not leave her home until the issue is resolved.

Miss Hughes took Defra and the Welsh Assembly to court last year to try to stop their policy of foot and mouth culling on the Brecon Beacons.

She was refused permission at the Court of Appeal to appeal against an earlier High Court rejection of her bid to force the Government to hold a judicial review into its handling of the crisis.

The environmental science teacher, who bought sheep on the Beacons to enable her to take the Government to court, has taken her struggle to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and is awaiting a response.

Miss Hughes, who lives with her partner Glyn, and was brought up on a seven-acre smallholding with hundreds of sheep, said: "I was so shocked, it came out of the blue. I have not heard from Defra since last April.

"They have put my car on the list and Matthew's electric car. They can have my car but they are not having that. He was in tears watching them from the window as they were putting his things on the list.

"We searched for months for it only last year.

He had always wanted one and I could not afford £700. Then I saw this one for £300 and I thought before he got too old I would get it for him."

A spokesman for Defra said: "Miss Hughes was ordered by the court to pay Defra's costs following an unsuccessful judicial review claim.

"Defra has given Miss Hughes a number of opportunities to put forward payment proposals, which she has refused to do."