Farmer fined for leaving sheep to rot

A County Durham sheep farmer who left rotting sheep carcasses on his farm to bait stray dogs has been fined £4000.

Thomas Dawson of Nunstanton East Farm in Ferry Hill left 17 sheep and lamb carcasses on his land in a bid to control a problem with stray dogs and foxes.

Mr Dawson, who farms 1200 sheep on his 450-acre tenanted farm, used the carcases to bait foxes so they could be shot.

Despite being warned the practice was illegal, Mr Dawson continued to leave the animals, which had died naturally, in a bid to protect his lambs.

Bishop Auckland magistrates were told the rotting carcasses posed a risk of disease to other animals and could contaminate the water supply.

Admitting five charges of failing to collect animals that had died after lambing last year, Mr Dawson was handed a £4000 fine and ordered to pay costs totalling £513.