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The Daily Mail | Posted 18th December 2014

Fight breaks out at parish council meeting after disagreement over sheep grazing rights

  • Meeting at Briercliffe Parish Council had to be abandoned after fight.

  • It is believed that discussions about sheep grazing rights became heated.

  • Lancashire police examining video footage of the incident on Monday night.

  • Police were called to a parish council meeting after a row over sheep grazing turned into a physical fight.

  • Lancashire police have called in video footage of the incident on Monday, at a meeting of the allotments committee of Briercliffe Parish Council.

  • The meeting had to be abandoned after discussions about sheep grazing rights became heated and ‘swear words were exchanged’ before the row spilled outside.

Lancashire Constabulary said it is now investigating possible public order offences.

Councillor Margaret Lishman, who chaired the meeting, said: “The meeting had to be adjourned because a fight broke out between some members of the public.

“The matter is with the police at the present time so it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.”

A police spokeswoman said the matter was under investigation and officers were reviewing video footage of the incident.

She said no arrests had been made, but police were looking into possible public order offences.

Former parish councillor Sarah Seed has been involved in protracted negotiations over grazing land for her sheep Millie, along with fellow councillor Colin Meeks.

She resigned earlier this month along with Coun Meeks, and lodged a standards complaint with Burnley Council.

The scuffle broke out at the meeting between council lengthsman Michael Greenwood, and Mrs Seed’s husband, Jimmy.

Mr Greenwood works as a contractor for the Parish Council, as council lengthsman.

Lengthsmen are employed by parish councils to tend to parts of the village such as commons and village greens, and maintain drainage into fields and public areas.

Mrs Seed said: ‘It started in the community centre.

“There was just a scuffle, nobody really punched anyone else, it was six of one and half a dozen of the other.

“I’m not surprised that a fight broke out.”

“It’s the way they’re treating people in the parish that we disagree with.”

Another member of the public who was at the meeting, Paul Stowell said: “It was fight between a member of the public and the parish council lengthsman.

“The meeting all stopped when it spilled outside and police were called.”