§ Mr. Baker
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what investigations his Department has conducted into the release of mink from a fur farm at Bourne Hill in Lancashire in July 1999, with particular reference to(a) the number of mink released, (b) damage done to the perimeter fencing and (c) responsibility for the release; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Morley
The Ministry was notified by the police on 7 August 1999 that mink had been released from the fur farm. The Farming and Rural Conservation Agency, an Executive agency of the Ministry, immediately visited the site to investigate the incident. They found that the perimeter fence had been breached in two places by being cut. It was estimated that between 50 and 100 mink escaped outside the farm and were unaccounted for.
I am not aware of anyone claiming responsibility for the break-in. This is a matter for the police to pursue.