Two farmers from Gloucestershire have been fined £2,000 for failing to remove rotten sheep carcasses from their property.
Kevin Hancock and Rachel Nyland pleaded guilty to 21 animal welfare offences.
The charges related to a failure to dispose of sheep carcases, failing to report the movement of sheep onto the holding or keep records relating to sheep movements.
Animal health visitors, who were alerted to the situation by a member of the public, found the rotting corpses of sheep on land farmed by the pair.
The officer found one carcass lying in a disused sheep dip, another under a wheelbarrow and one in an open wool sack.
Hancock was issued with a formal notice requiring him to dispose of the carcasses by 5pm the following day, by Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards, but he failed to do so.
The carcasses were reportedly a disease risk to livestock and wildlife.
The couples’ defence asked for credit for their early guilty pleas, as well as pointing to a personal issue within the family.
The chairman of the bench stated that they had listened to what had been said and gave credit for the early guilty pleas. However, he went on to say that the offences were serious and could have caused the spread of disease.
Hancock and Nyland were given a conditional discharge for 18 months.
They were ordered to pay £1,000 each towards the costs incurred by trading standards in bringing the case, as well as a victim surcharge of £20.
Gloucestershire County Council Councillor, Nigel Moor, said: “It is disappointing that we’re once again talking about breaches of legislation which could have a damaging effect on the county’s agricultural industry.
“These rules are in place to help prevent the spread of disease and ignoring them is not something we will put up with.
“This is an excellent result for our trading standards team and should serve as a warning to others that we will not tolerate these breaches.”