A 25-year-old poultry dealer has been banned from keeping birds for five years after he left 130 chickens crammed in small crates on a trailer, covered by a tarpaulin and without food and water for 18 hours.

Christopher Coe, of Rochester, Kent, went on the run after leaving the birds on the trailer in Swaffham, Norfolk. A member of the public reported the trailer, which had been abandoned in the town. There were 24 crates on the trailer, but all the chickens had been crammed into eight crates.

All the birds survived, but Mr Coe ignored a court summons and was convicted in his absence last January of neglecting and causing unnecessary suffering to 130 hens and four Indian Runner drakes.

He was brought before magistrates this month for sentence and was ordered to pay £1500 costs as well as serving the disqualification.