Sussex couple handed animal ban for ‘horror’ farm

A couple have been banned from keeping livestock after leaving pigs to eat the remnants of dead animals strewn across their farm in Sussex.

Dr John Penn, 76, and his wife, Teresa Penn, 77, were banned from keeping farm animals for 10 years in a hearing at Brighton Magistrates’ Court after East Sussex County Council Trading Standards successfully prosecuted the couple over animal welfare breaches.

The council said more than 20 pigs had to be culled after being left without adequate food, water and shelter at Court House Farm, in Lewes Road, Piddinghoe.

See also: Farmer’s guide to different enrichment types for pigs

The pigs were also found to be living among debris, bricks, barbed wire and planks of wood. Conditions were so bad at the farm that the pigs were feeding on the flesh of dead pigs which had been left amid the debris.

The couple also failed to improve conditions, despite being issued with improvement notices.

Suspended jail sentences

The Penns were each convicted of two offences under the Animal Welfare Act, three breaches of the Animal By-Product Regulations and seven breaches of the Welfare of Farmed Animal (England) Regulations.

They admitted 12 offences and were each handed three 18-month jail sentences, suspended for 12 months, to run concurrently.

The 10-year ban was suspended for eight weeks to allow the couple to dispose of their remaining sheep and pigs.

The Penns were also ordered to pay court costs of £1,157 and each pay a £115 victim surcharge.

Richard Strawson, East Sussex County Council Trading Standards team manager, said: “These were some of the most horrific conditions we have ever experienced and seeing pigs feeding off dead pigs was particularly shocking and upsetting.”

Councillor Bill Bentley, county council lead member for communities and safety, said the case demonstrated that strong action would be taken over cases involving animal cruelty. But he added: “The vast majority of farmers treat their animals well and cases like this are rare.”

See more