A FARMER from Devizes whose sheep were found to be lame, and being kept on filthy wet bedding, and whose pigs did not have enough fresh clean water, also left the corpse of a dead calf lying where vermin could get at it, magistrates heard writes John Baker.

Richard Terry Lewis, of Dundas Close, Devizes, appeared before Salisbury court charged with 15 offences of not properly caring for animals on March 18.

Lewis, 53, was accused of not looking after sheep, goats, pigs and cattle at Cherry Tree Farm in Devizes, Mount Pleasant Farm at Potterne and on land at Seend.

He pleaded guilty to eight of the charges and was given a two-year conditional discharge by Salisbury magistrates.

Seven other charges relating to sheep, goats, cattle and pigs were dismissed after the prosecution offered no evidence when Lewis changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on the other charges.

According to paperwork registered with the court office, district judge Stephen Nichols hearing the case said he was obliged to impose a conditional discharge given there was "no workable community penalty available and defendant did not have the funds to pay a fine."

However he did also order Lewis to pay a £500 fine and a £20 victim surcharge by April 15. His guilty plea was taken into account , and the court was told Lewis has previous fines outstanding.

As well as the physical neglect charges, which related to a flock of 15 sheep and a litter of five piglets, Lewis also admitted moving cattle contrary to anti-TB regulations and failing to complete Ministry of Agriculture paperwork correctly.

He also admitted failing to notify the Ministry of the death of a calf which did not have a cattle passport within the required seven days, and failing to keep a calf’s corpse secure from attacks by vermin.

The court was told he had breached sections of the Animal Health Act 1981 regarding moving cattle without complying with tuberculosis requirements, and the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007, relating to moving groups of cattle on and off his two farms and other land.

The court also heard that in December 2017, Lewis was fined £66, reduced to £44 for his guilty plea, and ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £30 after he admitted using a mobile phone while driving on the A365 at Melksham in August.

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