COUNTY NEWS: Animal ban for couple after ‘horrific’ treatment of pigs

Pigs were found feeding on the flesh of dead pigs left on the debris-strewn farm
Pigs were found feeding on the flesh of dead pigs left on the debris-strewn farm

A couple who kept pigs and sheep in ‘horrific’ conditions at their East Sussex farm have been handed suspended jail terms, according to the county council.

Conditions on the farm of Dr John Penn, 76, and his wife Teresa Penn, 77, were so bad pigs were found feeding on the flesh of dead pigs which had been left amid debris-strewn areas of the farm.

More than 20 pigs had to be culled after being left without adequate food, water and shelter, living among debris and barbed wire

More than 20 pigs had to be culled after being left without adequate food, water and shelter, living among debris and barbed wire

Richard Strawson, trading standards manager for East Sussex County Council, said: “These were some of the most horrific conditions we’ve ever experienced. Seeing pigs feeding off dead pigs was particularly shocking and upsetting.”

More than 20 pigs at Court House Farm in Lewes Road, Piddinghoe, near Newhaven had to be culled after being left without adequate food, water and shelter, living among debris, bricks, barbed wire and planks of wood.

The couple had been issued with improvement notices giving them the opportunity to remedy the issues raised, but failed to do so, according to the county council.

They admitted 12 offences under animal welfare legislation and were each handed three 18-month jail sentences, suspended for 12 months and to be served concurrently.

The couple were also banned from keeping farm animals for 10 years in a hearing at Brighton Magistrates’ Court, a council spokesperson said.

Mr and Mrs Penn’s 10-year ban was suspended for eight weeks to allow them to dispose of their remaining pigs and sheep.

They were ordered to pay court costs of £1,157 and each to pay a £115 victim surcharge, according to East Sussex County Council.

Bill Bentley, lead county council member for communities and safety, said: “The vast majority of farmers treat their animals well and cases like this are rare.

“Our Trading Standards officers have carried out a professional enquiry which led to this successful prosecution. This case demonstrates we won’t hesitate to take the strongest possible action against mistreatment of animals.”

The Penns were each convicted of two offences under the Animal Welfare Act, three breaches of the Animal By-product Regulations and seven breaches of the Welfare of Farmed Animal (England) Regulations.