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Man fined for GM food trial attack

A man has been ordered to pay £3,850 in compensation to a research centre carrying out a GM wheat experiment after admitting causing criminal damage.

Hector Christie was arrested following a break-in at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, in May, where a trial of GM wheat is taking place.

Scientists at the centre are conducting a controlled GM wheat experiment, combining modern genetic engineering with their knowledge of natural plant defences, to test whether wheat that can repel aphids works in the field. Christie, from Devon, yesterday admitted criminal damage at St Albans magistrates' Court.

The 50-year-old was fined £350 and ordered to pay compensation of £3,850 to Rothamsted Research. He was also ordered to pay costs of £85.

In a statement at the time of the incident, Rothamsted said the intruder had caused "significant" property damage but failed to disrupt the experiment.