A Borders farmer was dragged into a grain auger after it became entangled with his shoe lace, a fatal accident inquiry has been told.
Jim Sharp, 66, died of multiple injuries after entering a silo containing several feet of barley at his farm steading at Newbigging Walls near Lauder in March.
Sergeant Graeme Shearer - a Disaster Victim Identification officer with Police Scotland - said in a statement read out at Selkirk Sheriff Court how he was called to the farm to recover the body from the silo and had been told there had been no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
He explained how he located and cut the metal auger blade and unwound clothing from the screw including badly shredded navy overalls and jeans. Sergeant Shearer concluded that a shoe lace was the first thing that had become entangled with the rotating blade.
Health and Safety Executive Inspector Hazel Dobb said Mr Sharp was a self-employed farmer with no employees and no enforcement action needed to be taken. She added the electricity supply should have been isolated before the silo was entered to remove the power from the auger.
Summing up, procurator fiscal Louise Graham said: "The cause of the accident resulting in the death is that it appears Mr Sharp entered the grain silo but there is no evidence why that is the case.
"There may well have been a problem with the sweep auger on that date.
"When in the grain silo his boot lace has become entangled within the sweep auger."
She added it is not known how the lace came into contact with the auger. Delivering his determination Sheriff Peter Paterson said that Mr Sharp was pronounced dead at 14.25 on March 17th at his farm and that the cause of the death was a result of multiple injuries after his body became entangled with the rotating grain auger. He made no recommendations.
He extended his sympathies to Mr Sharp's wife Obie and two children who were in court for the 15 minute hearing.
Mr Sharp was one of Scotland's best known farmers. He was a former livestock convener of NFU Scotland and a prominent breeder of Blackface sheep. Mr Sharp was also captain of Melrose Rugby Club for several seasons.