#TheList Nick Holley, born 23/07/1968, of Tramside Farm, Nancekuke, Portreath, near Redruth TR16 5UF – banned from keeping farm animals after sheep were found starved and mutilated at his smallholding
Holley pleaded guilty to the following charges:
• Failing to provide adequate food to his flock of sheep
• Allowing sheep to have access to collapsed fencing and broken machinery that could have injured them
• Mutilating a sheep by docking its tail so short that the tail did not cover its vulva
• Failing to shear or provide shade to sheep in August 2019
• On 10 September 2019 caused unnecessary suffering to a sheep by failing to notice it was trapped or to release it from being trapped
Kevin Hill, prosecuting, told the court that Holley had gone on holiday and left a friend caring for 50 sheep at the smallholding, despite the friend having no previous experience of sheep husbandry.
Many of the sheep were emaciated yet had no supplementary feed, and the sheep had access to scrap and collapsed fencing. On a revisit, council officers found a sheep trapped in a fence; it had been trapped for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty.
In January 2020 the sheep were not being fed hay and had strayed onto neighbouring land and roadside verges to forage. Holley had been cautioned for similar offences in 2018.
The magistrates gave credit for the early guilty plea and genuine remorse.
Sentencing: two-year conditional discharge; £5,000 costs. Banned from keeping farm animals for five years.
#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 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.
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”.
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.
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’ 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.
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.
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.
#TheList Justine Arabella Peroni, born 10/09/1967, of The Coombe, Deviock Hill, Downderry, Torpoint, Cornwall PL11 3NA – cruelty to cattle on her smallholding
Justine Peroni admitted five charges of animal cruelty. These included a charge of “unnatural breeding” for allowing a bull to breed with his mother.
During a visit to Peroni’s smallholding Cornwall Council’s Animal Health team and vets from DEFRA found emaciated cattle, one cow with “pus dripping from its udder”, and fields covered in hazardous objects.
The four other charges Peroni admitted were:
Two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a cow by failing to provide prompt effective treatment
Failing to provide a suitable environment for cattle by allowing them access to items that had the potential to injure them
Failing to tag a calf within 20 days of its birth
Jane Tomlinson, the council’s Head of Trading Standards, said Peroni ignored the council’s advice, including the “most obvious cattle welfare needs”.
Sentencing: six-week curfew; ordered to pay £2,000 in council costs. Banned from keeping animals for five years.