A FARM worker is facing jail for slashing his former employer’s hay bales in the dead of night during a rampage which cost her thousands of pounds.

William Finlay, 33, went to Foreside Farm, in Neilston, and slashed 44 bales of pre-packaged haylage – wet fermented grass which can be eaten by animals during winter.

He denied he had anything to do with the September 2017 sabotage, which left Bozena Bienkowska more than £5,000 out of pocket.

However, Finlay left an empty pouch of tobacco and can of juice at the scene, as well as leaving a fingerprint on one of the bales.

Those clues led to him being detained and charged over the vandalism.
Giving evidence about the incident during Finlay’s trial at Paisley Sheriff Court, farm owner Miss Bienkowska said: “Our bales of haylage were vandalised. Haylage has a high percentage of moisture inside and it’s wrapped in plastic so it pickles.

“No air can get into it or it gets spoilage.”

Miss Bienkowska, 52, said the vandalism was discovered on the morning of September 2, 2017, leaving her in tears.

She told the court: “I phoned the farm and told Michael, my partner. We also phoned the police and the insurance company.

“There were multiple slashes on each bale. Some had been attacked as well. It looked like someone had tried to pull the stuff out of them.”

Miss Bienkowska said the haylage had been laid out in a pyramid and that each bale on the outside of the lowest two tiers had suffered damage.

She added that the vandalism had damaged haylage worth a total of £3,000 and cost them a further £2,500 because they had to buy another 50 bales at £50 each as they were unable to cut another field and make more of their own.

Defence solicitor Amy Spencer asked Sheriff Colin Pettigrew to acquit Finlay of the two charges he faced – breaching bail conditions by entering the farm while banned from being there and maliciously damaging the bales.

The lawyer said it could be coincidence that the brand of tobacco he smoked and type of juice he drank was found at the scene and said the fingerprint could have been on the bale wrapping from when he worked there.

However, Sheriff Pettigrew said: “There’s too many coincidences. I’m in no doubt the case is proved beyond reasonable doubt.”

After pointing out that Finlay had previously been placed on a Community Payback Order over a stalking offence involving his employer, the sheriff called for background reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing and adjourned the case until next month.