13 Feb 2015

House moving firm fined over electrocutions

11:49 am on 13 February 2015

The director of a house-moving company has been sentenced to four months home detention, after a house he was transporting brought down a power line, almost electrocuting a farm worker.

Arthur Britton's company, Britton Housemovers Limited, was also fined $60,000 yesterday in the Hasting District Court for the incident in which six lambs, five ewes and two sheep dogs died.

On 18 December 2013, the company was moving a house under Mr Britton's direction along Herbertville Road in Herbertville. The house crashed into the power line which then snapped and fell onto the roof of the house. An employee used a wooden stick to move the power line into a roadside ditch.

Several sheep walked into the ditch and were electrocuted. Two sheep dogs then ran after the sheep and they were also electrocuted. The shepherd reached out to grab the dead sheep but was pulled back at the last moment by the farmer, narrowly avoiding electrocution.

The house-moving convoy moved on, but the farmer and the shepherd chased after the convoy and told them what had happened.

Following an argument, a Britton Housemovers employee returned to the scene to put cones down. But still no Britton Housemovers employee called the relevant authorities who were eventually contacted by the farmer.

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