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Farmer jailed over rotting animals

A farmer has been jailed for 12 months after scores of animals were found dead and decaying at his farm.

Rotting carcasses of pigs, cows, poultry and a donkey were found by trading standards officers when they visited Keith James Littlewood's farm in Bestwood, Nottingham, last June, Nottingham Crown Court was told.

A number of animals were also found starving, with no access to food or water, and feeding off the carcasses of the dead animals.

Sentencing him for animal cruelty and breaching animal by-product laws at Nottingham Crown Court, Judge Michael Stokes QC, the Recorder of Nottingham, said: "I've never in my life seen anything as appalling that what I saw on the DVDs and photographs shown to me."

The DVD and pictures were from an inspection carried out by Nottinghamshire County Council trading standards following a complaint from a member of the public over concerns about the welfare of the animals on the farm.

Trading standards officers who visited White Haven Farm in Goosedale Lane, Bestwood, last March said it was the most horrific incident they have ever dealt with and described the stench as "nauseating", prosecutor Christopher Green said.

A number of pigs were found to be emaciated, with one feeding off one of the dead animals in its pen.

A DVD shown in court of the trading standards inspection showed a heifer and her calf in a barn with another rotting cow carcass. Another pregnant heifer was found straining to give birth as she was so emaciated.

Littlewood blamed the bad winter for not being able to get on the farm to remove the carcasses and said some of the animals may have died from food poisoning or been dumped on his farm.

Defending Littlewood, Sarah Lewis said he had lived at the farm with his mother up until her death in November 2009 after which he became depressed and found "simple and straightforward tasks difficult". "It wasn't wilful neglect or for profit. It was a simple inability to cope. The stock fell below acceptable standards due to his mental state, Ms Lewis told the court.

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