Farmer Keith Littlewood jailed for animal cruelty

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe farmer was found guilty of mistreating and neglecting his livestock

A Nottingham farmer has been jailed after "horrific" scenes of animal cruelty were found on his property.

Keith Littlewood, 47, admitted hygiene and animal cruelty charges after county council officers went to White Haven Farm, Bestwood, in March 2011.

Nottingham Crown Court heard carcasses of pigs, cows, poultry and a donkey were discovered, and other animals had no access to food or water.

Littlewood was given a 12-month prison sentence.

Judge Michael Stokes QC, the Recorder of Nottingham, said: "I've never in my life seen anything as appalling as what I saw on the DVDs and photographs shown to me."

'Absolutely horrendous'

County council trading standards officers said they were called to the farm by a concerned member of the public.

They found some animals feeding on the bodies of others, a dog locked in a room and surrounded by faeces, and the remains of burnt carcasses.

Four animals found alive were in such bad condition they had to be destroyed.

Littlewood pleaded guilty to four breaches of Animal By-Product Regulations which related to the non-disposal of eight cattle, one donkey and an unquantified number of pig and poultry carcases.

He has also admitted eight breaches of the Animal Welfare Act, relating to cruelty and causing unnecessary suffering to pigs, cattle and a dog.

Nicola Schofield, from trading standards said: "This is the most horrific case of animal cruelty we have ever had to deal with.

"The scenes the council's trading standards and animal welfare officers were faced with when they arrived at White Haven Farm were absolutely horrendous.

"We are immensely grateful to the member of the public who reported this to us.

"Animals had clearly been mistreated for a long period and if the witness hadn't come forward, there is every chance that this cruelty would have gone on for much longer."

Image caption Littlewood told the court some of the animals may have died from food poisoning or been dumped

Sarah Lewis, defending, said: "It wasn't wilful neglect or for profit. It was a simple inability to cope."

The court heard Littlewood had become depressed after the death of his mother in November 2009 and had subsequently found simple and straightforward tasks difficult.

Sentencing Littlewood, Judge Stokes QC said: "I am not one to appropriate rights to animals but human beings have a duty to care for animals.

"You have betrayed that duty towards your own animals.

"The conditions in which these heifers and pigs were being kept are almost beyond belief with no proper food, no proper environment to live in to the extent one pig was found trying to eat the remains of another."

He said the animals had been "virtually abandoned" and that he could not remember seeing a case where so many animals had been left "literally to die".

Inspectors revisiting the farm in October, where Littlewood still kept llamas and a number of donkeys, said standards had improved.

An application to ban Littlewood from keeping animals was adjourned until March

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites