Search

Pair could be jailed over cruelty to pigs at Harling Farm, East Harling

09:47 27 July 2012

Geoffrey Towell, 54, of Eccles Road, East Harling, and James Dove, 27, of Arundel Road, Wymondham, pleaded guilty to cruelty to pigs

Geoffrey Towell, 54, of Eccles Road, East Harling, and James Dove, 27, of Arundel Road, Wymondham, pleaded guilty to cruelty to pigs

copyright of Archant © 2010 01603 772434

Two men guilty of causing cruelty to pigs by striking them and throwing them to the ground have been told they could face a prison sentence.

Geoffrey Towell, 54 from Eccles Road, East Harling, pleaded guilty to five counts of cruelty to pigs and piglets by hitting five sows with a plastic pipe – one was hit 35 times – unlawfully killing three pigs by hitting them on the head with a metal bar and using unnecessary force to handle piglets.

He also pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to protect pigs from pain and suffering by lifting pigs by the ears and dropping them from waist height.

James Dove, 27, from Arundel Road, Wymondham, pleaded guilty to two charges of cruelty by hitting sows with a plastic pipe and throwing pigs over a barrier and two charges of failing to protect pigs from suffering by lifting them with excessive force, lifting pigs by the ear and leg, dropping them to the ground and kicking them while moving them.

The court heard how the incidents, at Harling Farm, in East Harling, had been filmed between July 21 and September 30 last year by a colleague, later discovered to be an undercover activist for animal rights group Animal Equality.

Jonathan Eales, prosecuting, said: “Pig welfare says pigs should move at their own pace and too much noise and force should be avoided and sensitive parts of the body should not be struck.

“Excessive force should not be used and animals should not be moved by legs or tails. Unfortunately both defendants fell short of the care required in moving the pigs around the farm.”

Jamieson Plummer, mitigating on behalf of Towell, said “dispatching” of pigs by hitting them with a blunt instrument was not uncommon, but said his client was “ashamed” at the way it had been carried out.

“It’s not nice, but my client did nothing wrong in killing the pig, it is the method in which they were dispatched,” he said.

“The handling, however, my client accepts was not done in the correct way.

“My client had asked the farm for help, but the only person they could give was the person who took the film who was an activist and had his own agenda. He didn’t turn up on time on a lot of occasions and his help was not assisting my client, but filming.”

Ian Fisher, mitigating on behalf of Dove, said that his client had originally been hired as a tractor driver and that there was “no suggestion” he had killed any pigs.

“Much of what was shown does not relate to Mr Dove at all,” he added. “When he was interviewed he regretted what he had done and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.”

The case was adjourned for sentencing until August 17 for reports to be prepared, but district judge Peter Veits warned the pair he could not rule out a custodial sentence.

Owner of Harling Farm, Stephen Brown, was found dead on a farm track just days after an investigation into cruelty allegations was launched. An inquest found he had taken his own life while in a disturbed state of mind.

rebecca.gough@archant.co.uk

Other news

Thetford's Forgotten Garden which took part in the Open Gardens Weekend. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Thirty eight gardens of all shapes and sizes took part in this year’s Thetford Open Gardens as the event celebrated its 10th year.

Effie Cole, nine, from Bardwell, has donated almost 10 inches of her hair to the Little Princess Trust.

They say a woman’s hair is her crowning glory, but one young fund-raiser has chosen to donate hers to less fortunate girls.

Picture: James Bass

Thieves have made off with an iMac, laptop and Nikon camera after breaking into a house through a conservatory in Thetford.

Physiotherapist Rosie Tulloch helps a patient with the bed bike at West Suffolk Hospital.

Critical care patients at a Suffolk hospital are now being given a better chance of making a good recovery following the introduction of a specialist ‘bed bike’ which aims to keep joints moving while combatting muscle wastage.

Most Read

Picture: James Bass

Thieves have made off with an iMac, laptop and Nikon camera after breaking into a house through a conservatory in Thetford.

Read more
Thetford
Thetford's Forgotten Garden which took part in the Open Gardens Weekend. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Thirty eight gardens of all shapes and sizes took part in this year’s Thetford Open Gardens as the event celebrated its 10th year.

Read more
Thetford
Residents in a canoe on the flooded Low Road at Scole. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Heavy rain and thunderstorms saw many parts of Norfolk hit by flash floods over the weekend.

Read more
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
Yesterday, 16:12
An e-fit likeness of a man police are trying to trace in relation to a reported rape in Brandon.

Detectives investigating a rape in Brandon have carried out more checks in the area a week after the attack happened.

Read more
Physiotherapist Rosie Tulloch helps a patient with the bed bike at West Suffolk Hospital.

Critical care patients at a Suffolk hospital are now being given a better chance of making a good recovery following the introduction of a specialist ‘bed bike’ which aims to keep joints moving while combatting muscle wastage.

Read more
Thetford

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 11°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Thetford and Brandon e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up