Tag Archives: illegal slaughter

Aston, Birmingham: Robert Iordan, Florin Nutu and Viorel Manu

#TheList Robert Iordan, born 28/05/1996, Florin Nutu, born 11/01/1984, and Viorel Manu, born c. 1980, all of 41 Dunsink Road, Birmingham B6 6PL – killed and butchered around 350 sheep in Northamptonshire over four months.

Police mugshots of Robert Iordan and Florin Nutu

Between June 22 and October 7, 2019, the three Romanian nationals travelled across rural areas in the county, killing and butchering sheep in order to steal the meat and profit from it.

The trio’s attacks on sheep and lambs, which all took place in the dead of night, had the county’s livestock farming community gripped in fear.

But they were hunted down by Northamptonshire Police’s rural crime team, acting on key information from NFU members and farmers, and arrested.

All three eventually pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Northampton crown court.

In a hearing in October 2019, the court heard the gruesome details of how the alleged operation was carried out.

The prosecution lawyer said: “The conspiracy involved the slaughter of about 350 sheep, all that have been slaughtered inhumanely.

“Vehicles and weapons have been taken to the location on local farmers’ fields, the sheep are captured and a knife is taken to their throats and they suffer a slow and painful death.

“A pipe is then inserted into the throat of the sheep which are blown up, they are skinned and their remains are left at the scene.”

NFU county adviser for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, Harriet Ranson, who was involved in the case from the beginning and liaised with police throughout, said she was delighted with the outcome.

“These crimes were horrific, barbaric and unprecedented and had the whole livestock farming community in Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties living in fear that they would be next for months,” she said.

“It is fantastic to see the courts treating these appalling crimes with the seriousness they deserve and handing down suitably lengthy prison terms to these dangerous men.

“This case really highlights how important local information from farmers, the NFU and the public is in helping to bring offenders before the courts.

“We’d like to thank Northamptonshire Police, their rural crime team and the police and crime commissioner for their relentless pursuit of these criminals and we hope this case sends out a clear message to anyone planning to do something similar – you will get caught and you will get punished.”

Sentencing: Iordan and Nutu were both handed jail terms of four years and four months and Manu was ordered to serve two years and 11 months inside.

Warwickshire Rural Crime Team (Facebook post)

West Wales: Sean Burns, Kenneth Evans and John Clayton

#TheList Sean Ronald Burns, born 15/08/1970, of Rosehill Lodge, Ferry Lane, Pembroke SA71 4RG, Kenneth Darren Evans, born 09/10/1975, of 28 Llys Caermedi, Carmarthen SA31 1GX, and John A Clayton (dob tbc) of 17 Rhos Las, Carmarthen SA31 2DY – convicted on charges relating to cruelty to animals at Bramble Hall Farm in Pembroke Dock and operation of an illegal slaughterhouse

Sean Burns (left) pictured outside court with his solicitor
Sean Burns (left) pictured outside court with his solicitor

Sean Burns was convicted of multiple cruelty charges in relation to 215 animals at Bramble Hall Farm, Ferry Lane, Pembroke Dock SA71 4RG.

The charges included the unlicensed breeding of dogs, welfare and animal-keeping regulation charges relating to sheep, horses, dogs, pigs, and goats.

A total of 53 pigs, 80 sheep, three goats, 58 dogs, 20 horses and one donkey were removed from the smallholding after being found living in squalor and without adequate space, food or water.

Sean Burns pictured outside court

District Judge Christopher James told Burns he had “deliberately” inflicted suffering over a “significant period of time”.

He told Burns the condition of the animals was “extremely poor”, and that some dogs and puppies had “died due to the neglect suffered at your hands”.

Atrocious conditions for the animals on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock

One horse was found with a pipe stuck in its hoof and two horses were found with no access to food or water.

They also found 10 newborn puppies in a plastic food bowl, two of which were dead.

Prosecutor Alexander Greenwood said the dogs were kept in a “hazardous environment”, with no bedding, and the floor wet with urine and faeces.

Atrocious conditions for the animals on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock

The court was told the animals displayed signs of “bullying behaviour” as food was so scarce and the bigger animals were keeping the smaller animals away from food.

The prosecution said this case of animal neglect was “one of the worst examples of its kind.”

The court heard Burns failed to provide documentation for any of the animals.

Defending, Aled Owen told the court Burns “has not got the skills to manage this farm efficiently”.

“Quite frankly, my client is illiterate,” he said.

The prosecution followed an investigation by public protection officers from Pembrokeshire Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police’s rural crime team.

Sean Burns is pictured alongside his mother Pamela Burns.
Sean Burns is pictured alongside his mother Pamela Burns. Although she initially faced similar charges to her son, the case against her was dropped because of her apparent ill health

Sean Burns’ mother Pamela Burns (born 12/08/1945) had faced 24 charges but the case against her ultimately did not proceed because she is said to be suffering from dementia.

Sean Burns was also convicted alongside associates John Clayton and Kenneth Evans on a string of charges relating to food hygiene, operating an illegal slaughterhouse and being involved in the illegal slaughter of sheep to produce ‘smokies’ – a West African delicacy where meat is cooked using a blow torch.

The illegal slaughterhouse operated in one of the agricultural outbuildings, with Clayton and Evans caught in the act by horrified inspectors.

The unit had been set up as a makeshift slaughter hall with six slaughtered sheep at various stages of preparation and further penned sheep awaiting the same fate.

Conditions inside the illegal slaughterhouse being operated on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock, Wales

The court was told that conditions in the slaughter hall were insanitary and the floor awash with blood from the slaughtered animals as well as by-products from the slaughter process.

A herd of pigs was seen wandering among suspended sheep carcasses, feeding on the remains of the slaughtered animals.

Approximately six further carcasses of smoked sheep were found bagged in the boot of Evans’ car, ready for onward supply.

Evidence was gathered by officers and the carcasses were seized for condemnation.

A number of sheep were subsequently euthanized for humane reasons and restrictions were placed on the herd of pigs, preventing their movement off-site to address the potential disease risk and to protect the human food chain.

Conditions inside the illegal slaughterhouse being operated on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock, Wales

Clayton was convicted in 2002 for the same offence alongside David Jones of Moelfre Farm in Llanwnnen, John Beddows of Tregaron, Ceredigion, Trefor Williams of Llandysul, Ceredigion, Alun Evans and his brother Richard Evans both of Abernewrig, Lampeter, Malcolm Taylor of Oldbury, in the West Midlands, and Alun Lloyd of Llanfrynach, Pembrokeshire

Sentencing for these offences is to follow.

Magistrates in Court in Llanelli formalised that order for the removal of the animals owned by Pamela and Sean Burns of Bramble Hall.

Sentencing: Sean Burns was given 20 weeks in prison for illegal dog breeding, animal welfare charges and other summary matters. Although Pembrokeshire Council have incurred thousands of pounds in costs, Burns was only ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge at this stage. He was handed an indefinite ban from keeping animals, including having any involvement or influence over the care or welfare of animals.

Milford Mercury
BBC News
Western Telegraph

Cullompton, Devon: Edward Shere

Edward Shere, born c. 1989, of Gingerland Livery Yard, Colebrooke Lane, Cullompton EX15 1PD – shot a pet pig called Ivor three times before dragging him, still alive, onto a trailer with a winch

Edward Shere
Callous Edward Shere caused pet pig Ivor tremendous suffering in his final moments

Shere, a former stocksman with the Portman Hunt, had denied harming the pig but was found guilty of causing him unnecessary suffering.

RSPCA officials said Shere was contacted on the hunt’s emergency line by Ivor’s owner.

The owner asked Shere to humanely destroy the pet pig at a smallholding. Vets had advised the animal be euthanised.

However, the defendant used an ‘incorrect weapon’ and failed to properly and humanely euthanise Ivor, who weighed 340 kilograms.

Shere then winched the much-loved family pet onto a trailer while he still alive in front of his owners, who had gathered to say their final goodbyes.

Ivor’s owner has since set up a campaign group on Facebook.

RSPCA chief inspector Mike Butcher, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “It’s essential all animals are treated in a way which safeguards their welfare at all times, throughout their entire life.

“Many animals have their lives ended due to being put down as a result of illness, age or infirmity.

“At this upsetting final stage of an animal’s life, owners place their full trust in those employed to humanely put animals to sleep to do so competently and without causing the type of suffering Ivor sadly experienced.”

Sentencing: disqualified for transporting (but not keeping) animals for three years. 120 hours of unpaid work; £750 fine.

Bournemouth Echo

Worton, Cassington, Oxfordshire: David and Anneke Blake plus Jenejio Marques Fidel

#TheList David K Blake and Anneke Maria Blake, owners of the Worton Organic Garden, Worton, near Cassington OX29 4SU and their employee, Jenejio Marques Fidel – for the illegal and inhumane slaughter of a ten-week-old piglet

Photo shows David and Anneke Blake and their employee Jenejio Marques Fidel
David and Anneke Blake trading as Worton Organic Garden and their employee Jenejio Marques Fidel

The piglet had its feet bound before being illegally slaughtered in a way that inspectors said would cause a ‘prolonged death’.

The business owners David and Anneke Blake appeared alongside their employee Jenejio Marques Fidel, who carried out the unusual slaughter.

The court heard how officers from Oxfordshire Trading Standards first visited the farm in May 2017 after getting a complaint about illegal slaughter of animals.

When asked about the slaughtering of pigs, the Blakes admitted to the slaughtering of a 10-week-old piglet by Marques.

The court was shown the knife which Marques used to kill the pig.

They revealed the method of slaughter was by binding the feet of the pig then stabbing it through the heart.

This method of slaughter was identified by a Defra veterinary officer as leading to a ‘prolonged death’ and causing ‘distress and unnecessary suffering’.

The meat from the pig was then sold and eaten at the farm cafe, despite not complying with UK food safety legislation.

When officers went back for a second visit, they discovered evidence of medicines being used to treat pigs for worms.

But when questioned, Mr Blake admitted he did not keep any records on administering the medicines – a requirement under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations.

Again, the regulations are intended to ‘ensure the integrity’ and safety of food destined for human consumption.

The Blakes and Marques all pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and were apologetic for their actions, which they said was out of ignorance of the law.

They also gave assurances that they would follow the legal requirements in future.

David and Anneke Blake and their employee all admitted failing to comply with regulations relating to the welfare of animals at the time of killing. David Blake also admitted to failing to record details of veterinary medicinal products.

Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for trading standards Judith Heathcoat said: “Rules are in place around the slaughter of animals and the keeping of livestock records for very good reasons, ensuring the safety and integrity of our food chain, not forgetting the need to prevent unnecessary suffering to animals.

“The vast majority of livestock keepers maintain very good farming standards and we will not tolerate those who undermine the system.”

Sentencing:
David Blake – fined a total of £664 and ordered to pay £2,000 court costs and a £38 victim surcharge.

Anneke Blake – fined £230 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Marques, who gave his address as Rectory Cottage, Worton,  was fined £150 and ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge.

Oxford Mail