A HORSE meat investigation that centred on a Chorley farm has now switched to premises nearby.
Breworth Fold Farm in Brindle had originally been identified after claims that a family ate a horse contaminated with equine drugs.
The investigation has now moved on to neighbouring Breworth Fold Cottage in Brindle.
However, the farm owner – who does not live at Breworth Fold Cottage – contacted the National Farmers’ Union for help to ensure he is not implicated in the investigation.
Officials from Chorley Council’s environmental health team were sent to Breworth Fold Farm after the Food Standards Agency received reports that contaminated horse meat had been sent there from an abattoir in Cheshire.
Tests showed the meat had proven positive for the drug phenylbutazone, which is used to treat lame horses.
It is believed the carcass sent from Brindle had been butchered and then split between the premises there and a farm, claimed to be run by relatives, in Kirklees in West Yorkshire.
However, when officials visited the Yorkshire farm they found that the family had already eaten the meat.
Chorley Council confirmed it had spoken to a Mr Pickervance at the Brindle farm who had said it was nothing to do with him.
Mr Pickervance directed investigators to the family of the late Harvey Kay in one of the neighbouring properties where it is understood a relative confirmed they had sent horses to slaughter to the abattoir in question but that none of the meat is ever returned to Chorley.
A spokesman for the authority said: “The council confirmed that it had spoken to a Mr Pickervance who said it was nothing to do with him.
“Officers then spoke to a person at a neighbouring property who gave them the information they needed.
“The council passed the information on to the foods standards agency which is responsible for continuing the investigation.”
Phenylbutazone can cause cancer and have other lethal effects.