Puppies were not cleared

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A horse dealer from Newbiggin smuggled eight puppies into the UK which did not have the right health clearance, a court heard.

John Graham, 66, of Woodhorn Road, was stopped at North Shields Ferry Terminal last October after security checks found the puppies in a section of his horse box.

North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard that Graham had been returning on a ferry from the Netherlands with a horse he had bought.

But when he was stopped by North Tyneside Council’s animal health inspector Paul Tyrie, he said all he had in his vehicle was a horse and seven cans of lager.

The court was told the puppies were too young to have been vaccinated against rabies, the vaccination period had not passed, there were no health certificates in place, and none had been fitted with a microchip, which meant their passports were defective.

Graham, only licensed to transport horses, pleaded guilty to eight charges brought by the council’s trading standards department.

James Errington, defending, said Graham had brought the puppies after a request from his son and assumed everything was in order as Dutch authorities had checked the puppies before the crossing.

Graham was ordered to complete 40 hours unpaid work, pay £850 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.