Pet scam woman to pay back fraudulent haul

A CREMATORIUM owner who dumped the bodies of family pets in fields has been ordered to pay back more than £3,100 of her fraudulent earnings.

Emma Bent, the 36-year-old who ran Peak Pet Cremations in Heage, had a contract with Heanor-based veterinary surgery Ambivet to dispose of animal waste and by-products using an incinerator.

She also ran a private cremation service, which charged her clients up to £140 to give their pets a dignified send-off.

But Bent instead dumped many of the bodies in fields in Heage and Hartshay and returned false ashes in an urn to her clients.

Last week a confiscation order was made under the Proceeds Of Crime Act to strip Bent of her fraudulent earnings.

The short hearing at Derby Crown Court demanded Bent pay £3,100 of ‘realisable assets’ within six months, or return to jail.

However the court found that mum-of-three Bent, of High Edge Drive, had netted more than £88,000 from her ilegal business and could one day have to pay back the full amount, if she were to come into money.

Speaking on behalf of Bent’s victims, director of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria Kevin Spurgeon said: “The key thing is nothing is going to replace the memory of their pets and the worry when it happened. But I think this goes some way to getting a little bit more justice against Emma Bent.”

Realisable assets are assets already owned by Bent at present that she has to pay back. Bent served just seven weeks of the eight-month jail term handed to her in February. She had pleaded guilty to 23 charges involving more than 2,800 animals.

Bent’s actions were uncovered when a dog walker found the bodies of four dogs in a ditch off Bridle Lane, Lower Hartshay.

Police traced their owners from microchip implants and realised they had all used Peak Pet Cremations.

The bodies of four cats, a guinea pig, a rabbit, a chicken and a badger were also found in sacks in a shed in Heage at the crematorium, as well as the charred remains of three cats and five dogs.