A council prosecution against an experienced shepherd chosen as high-profile tenant of a £1 million National Trust farm, for £1 a year, collapsed dramatically on the fourth day of a trial today(FRI).

Outside Llandudno court, defence solicitor David Kirwan said :”I am very, very disappointed with the attitude of the council. There has been no apology. They nearly ruined a very honest and well-respected man. I believed passionately in my client’s innocence.”

Daniel Jones, 40, of Anglesey, was in 2016 selected out of 2,500 applicants as tenant of 145-acre Parc Farm on the picturesque Great Orme headland, overlooking Llandudno.

District judge Gwyn Jones told Mr Jones: "Your good name remains.”

As he left court, the farmer said: "It’s the end of a nightmare. It was a dream come true turned into a nightmare.”

Earlier he’d told the judge that he had submitted the necessary paperwork for sheep movements.

He’d denied failing to dispose of three sheep carcasses, failing to keep a register of animal movements and nine offences of failing to notify the authorities of animals he had

received between 2016, when he took over the tenancy, and 2018.

The case, costing thousands of pounds, was brought by Conwy council after trading standards officers visited the farm in January last year following a complaint from a member of the public about dead sheep.

During a second day of questioning by his solicitor, Mr Jones said he had posted movement records to EID Cymru, a central database operator.

“I had been open and honest through this whole investigation,’” he said in evidence. He’d thought movement records were added to his account.

“It wasn’t until the (council) interview I was made aware there were problems,” Mr Jones declared.

Dropping the case, prosecuting barrister John Wyn Williams said the prosecution was under a duty to review the evidence given in court. He said :”The council are keenly aware Mr Jones is a man of impeccable good character.”

The council didn’t accept a defence suggestion of a “witch-hunt” but said the investigation started following a complaint by a member of the public.

Mr Wyn Williams said there was no reasonable prospect of convicting Mr Jones on the charges involving the movement of animals and “it wouldn’t be in the public interest” to pursue the remaining two disputed allegations. “I am withdrawing the whole case,” counsel declared.

Mr Kirwan told the judge :”The person who’s suffered the most here for 17 months is Daniel Jones. His unblemished life has been on hold for that 17 months and has been a hell and a nightmare, they are his own words.

“The nightmare is over but it will, unsurprisingly, probably affect him for the rest of his life. It’s cost him a fortune. He’s paid privately.”

Mr Jones originally faced 20 charges but nine of them were dropped before the trial.

His lawyer said it was a “great shame” the prosecution hadn’t dropped the entire case earlier. “They should never have been brought, any of them in the first place,” he said of the charges. “My client has suffered greatly. He hasn’t slept, he’s not a well man and it’s cost him a fortune to preserve his good name.”

He’d faced the risk of “ignominy”.

Defence costs were awarded by the court.

During the case Mr Jones had described the challenge of keeping his flock on a headland often battered by storms. There was no physical boundary and sheep wandered into the town to graze.

He had been a contract shepherd and in 2007 started farming himself in Anglesey.

He recalled how friends had told him about the Llandudno opportunity. “I dismissed it at the time. As a couple of days went by, I looked into it and the main attraction was the farm for a pound a year.”

He had been a tenant farmer in Anglesey, landlords had been increasing rents and he was forced to farm more intensively. He and his wife thought it would be a good move to Llandudno and a “fresh challenge.”

Mr Jones agreed with his lawyer that running Parc Farm on the top of the Great Orme, sticking out into the Irish Sea and popular with tourists and locals, was “very different” to running a lowland farm in Anglesey. “It gets a battering from the weather,” he explained. “The wind and rain can be pretty bad. It can be dangerous at times.

“It’s very challenging because of the cliffs. Sheep get stuck on cliffs. I have had to employ climbers to save them. I have had sheep fall in the sea. One of my sheepdogs fell 50ft in the sea but he survived.”

In interview, Mr Jones said he’d cleared the carcasses as soon as he knew they were there. He had told the Conwy council officials: "I don’t know how I missed them.” But he had “so much going on.”

He said: "I was just running around everywhere.”

When the National Trust announced the winner of its international search for a “conservation farming hero” to take on the farm, Mr Jones had declared: "I couldn’t quite believe it when I got the call to say I was successful. I was in shock.”

The Trust said Mr Jones and his wife Ceri “absolutely stood out from the crowd”.