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24 August 2012, 17:20
A man who trashed genetically modified wheat crops, in Hertfordshire, has been ordered to pay £4,300.
Hector Christie, 51, who lives in a Queen Anne stately home at Tapeley Park in Bideford, scattered organic seed and pulled up trial crops at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden.
He told Central Herts Magistrates' Court in St Albans he carried out the protest because Rothamsted would not debate the dangers of GM with him.
He said: 'This is why I have done it. I won't be doing it anymore. I would love to have a proper debate.'
He pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage on May 20th this year.
At one stage in the proceedings the amount of damage the prosecution alleged was caused rose from £3,850 to £51,900, before going back down to the original figure.
The magistrates fined him £350, ordered him to pay a £15 victim impact surcharge, £85 prosecution costs and £3,850 in compensation to Rothamsted.
Following the criminal damage a protest group called Take the Flour back staged a demonstration in the park next to Rothamsted Research.
150 protestors were heavily outnumbered by police protecting the crops.