A FARMER who was accused of causing a pesticides spill that killed hundreds of fish in Oxfordshire's waterways has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Timothy Hook, of Cote, Bampton, had always denied the single count of causing a water discharge activity by causing a poisonous or noxious substance to enter a ditch and brook in West Oxfordshire.

Prosecutors had claimed that as a result of a road traffic accident in which he was involved on May 12, 2014, the 37-year old caused the deaths of hundreds of fish, destroying up to half of one species at the centre of the incident.

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During the trial at Oxford Crown Court jurors were told that Mr Hook had been driving his tractor while towing a crop sprayer on the A415 near Kingston Bagpuize.

While on the roundabout with the A420, the court heard, the crop sprayer which was filled with thousands of litres of pesticide, spilled on the road.

Oxford Mail:

It was claimed that the pesticides - made up of fungicides and herbicides Zephyr, Concert SX and Compitox Plus, ended up in the nearby Fyfield ditch before travelling to the Marcham Brook.

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The pollution spill which poured into the nearby waterways caused the deaths of hundreds of fish, reducing one species near the source 'by a half', prosecutors said.

From Fyfield to Marcham all of the Brown Trout were wiped out, the court heard, representing a 100 per cent mortality rate.

Mr Hook, who reported the incident immediately and stayed at the scene to assist, had always maintained his innocence.

As his week-long trial came to an end on Monday afternoon jurors took just 55 minutes to roundly clear him and find not guilty by a unanimous verdict.