A MID Devon farmer, who pleaded guilty to a range of animal welfare offences, has received a life-time ban on keeping all animals and a 12 month suspended sentence.

Philip Govier, 69, of Willtown Farm, Clayhidon, on the Devon Somerset border, pleaded guilty to offences in January after allowing the carcases of dead animals to be eaten by dogs and predators, and leaving his cattle in such condition that they developed inflammation of the skin.

Officers of Devon and Somerset Trading Standards found, during visits between January 2013 and April 2013, rotting remains of sheep, cattle and a horse on Mr Govier's land, and live animals at risk of injury from exposed barbed wire and rusting sheet metal.

The farmer's dogs were found feeding on one of the sheep remains.

Mr Govier, who has a history of animal welfare offences since 2009, repeatedly ignored advice given to him by Trading Standards Officer and other officials concerning the welfare of his animals.

His farm had become unmanageable and was in a state of disrepair, with animals kept largely in squalor.

Mr Govier was sentenced today at Exeter Crown Court for offences under section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for failing to provide an adequate environment for his livestock, which in April 2014 included approximately 30 cattle, 200 sheep and 90 horses and ponies.

The Council was awarded full costs of £9,645.

Mr Govier was also subject to a 33 month conditional discharge from an earlier case brought by Devon County Council in July 2010, and these matters were taken into consideration in sentencing.

Speaking today, Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, described Mr Govier as being both physically and financially unable to look after animals any longer.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Trading Standards service, said: "Taking this sort of action is sometimes necessary as a last resort to ensure animals are kept in humane conditions. Farmers need to recognise when they are finding it hard to cope and seek help or take measures to ensure the welfare of their and their neighbours' stock."

Devon and Somerset Trading Standardsand the Animal Health and Vetinary Laboratories Agency will continue to work together and monitor the premises to ensure that the indefinate disqualification from keeping all animals is upheld