• MySTV

Farm owned by millionaire businessman fined after leg accident

Blackford Farms was fined £35,000 at Perth Sheriff Court.

Sheriff blasts Perth lawyers over no-show

A farm owned by a millionaire businessman has been fined after a female employee as injured in an accident.

Wanda Lustig said she had been "laughed at" when she warned about the unsafe working conditions on Maher Mahdi Al Tajir's Blackford Farms in Perthshire.

The 34-year-old farm worker fell into an unguarded chain machine in a ramshackle grain byre and had a significant chunk of her lower leg ripped off before she could escape. She managed to drag herself out of the building and make a call for help.

She was found with injuries which a colleague said "looked like a shark bite."

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis fined Blackford Farms £35,000 on Thursday after it admitted being responsible for leaving Ms Lustig scarred for life.

The company admitted a series of health and safety breaches covering a two year period from October 2009 to October 18 2011, when she was injured in a grain shed.

Sheriff Foulis said: "It's pretty clear the circumstances in the grain shed were inherently dangerous. Persons had expressed concerns. The circumstances were ongoing for two years. It is a serious breach."

Perth Sheriff Court was told that Al Tajir, who also owns Highland Spring, paid Ms Lustig off after the accident because she was no longer fit to work on the farm.

The company's solicitor, Diane Turner, said Al Tajir and his fellow director Mohamed Sadiq Al Tajir, were paying an insurance group £1000 pounds per month to carry out risk assessments on the farm.

But the court was told that the only health and safety checks carried out were on the offices at the farm while none at all were completed around the dangerous heavy machinery areas of the working farm.

Wanda Lustig, 34, had been working on the 20,000 acre estate for around six years and lived in a tied cottage at the time of the accident on October 18, 2011.

Senior fiscal depute David Glancy told Perth Sheriff Court that the farm had not carried out proper health and safety risk assessments and several experienced staff had expressed concern about working practices.

Mr Glancy said: "She stated she heard the chain making a strange sound and decided to investigate. Due to the narrow width of the corridor and the space available for her to place her feet she required to stand on the metal plates covering the moving chains.

"She slipped and her left foot was caught up in the moving chainwork which caused her to fall over and be dragged by it. She cannot say how, but was successful in releasing her foot.

"She was distressed and had a wound in her leg that 'looked like a shark bite'.

"Unable to walk, she dragged herself from the building and telephoned her boyfriend. She realised she was badly injured. Ms Lustig was taken to Falkirk Royal Infirmary.

"The consultant surgeon describes her injuries having occurred as a result of a 'horrendous industrial accident'.

"She continues to experience considerable pain when required to walk and also has difficulty walking without support. She is not in employment at present.

"She was advised by Blackford that they had no work to offer her in her current physical condition and she has been paid off by them. She has been unable to secure employment and feels she is unable to work.

"Ms Lustig herself concludes her statement stating that she reported things that she thought were dangerous but 'people just found it funny and were not taking me seriously'."

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said: "The circumstances could easily have been avoided. The ultimate beneficiary of any profit will be the Al Tajir family. With all due respect to them they will not be struggling for the odd pound or two, without being flippant."

The company was given three months to pay the fine.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.