Newcastle Journal 14 April

The bodies of some of the rarest sheep in Britain were smouldering on a
funeral pyre last night after the woman who had vowed to protect them says
she was kept away from the round-up.

Retired dentist Dr Frances Fish was served with Government A-notice
yesterday morning.  It declared that nearly 200 of her rams, ewes and new
lambs were being culled because they were in an infected area within three
kilometres of two Borders farms where foot and mouth was confirmed last

Dr. Fish says the notice was pushed through the back door letterbox of her
home at Eckford House near Kelso by two officials who then left as two
uniformed policemen blocked the drive.

Within minutes a civilian team began the round-up of the Fish flock six
miles away in fields which the 58-year old rare breeds expert rents near

Gosforth-born Dr Fish said last night: "It was like something from a police
state.  It was obviously worked out to make it impossible for us to get to
the fields in time.

"The police car was blocking the drive preventing us from getting our car
out.  The officers said we were free to leave but the only way we could do
that was by walking. They stayed around 45 minutes and I regard it as
nothing more than a blockade."

Last night Lothian and Borders Police denied that Dr Fish had been blockaded
in her home.   A senior officer at the Tweedbank emergency command centre
said: "Two officers were at the house to escort the officials serving the
notice and explain the process to Dr. Fish.

"She and her husband were not around initially so they stayed parked for
some time at the bottom of the drive after the officials left and until the
Fishes came back.

"They then spoke to them and explained what was happening.  The exchange was
perfectly cordial. "There seems to be a misunderstanding here because Dr
Fish at no time asked the officers to move away from the drive.  Had she
done so they would have complied."

Dr. Fish believes her rare sheep should have been exempt from the
pre-emptive cull.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department said;  "We
have to act in the wider interest of all farms."