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

Tommy Georgious's Thetford home was burgled in May and he's still waiting for insurance money to pay.
Picture by: Sonya Duncan

A man who claims he had £15,000 of damage done to his home after a burglary has staged a one man protest against a building society he says has let him down.

11:35
Dead fish at Acle Dyke. Picture: Supplied

Environment experts will survey the region’s waterways in the coming weeks to gauge what damage the recent storms caused.

Yesterday, 15:57
The official opening of Great Yarmouth Primary Academy - one of the Inspiration Trust schools at the centre of the allegations. (L TO R) Rachel De Souza, Bill Holledge - Headteacher, Dr Liz Sidwell  - Schools Commissioner and Theodoe Agnew - Academy Sponsor.   Picture: James Bass

Ofsted has announced an independent review of its investigation into claims that three Norfolk schools connected to Dame Rachel de Souza received advance notice of up-coming inspections.

Yesterday, 15:54
Chris Ball, pharmacist at Hurn Chemist in Norwich, who is part of a new campaign urging patients to cut down on wasted medicines. Picture: Supplied

Patients have been urged to help save the NHS millions of pounds after it emerged that almost £5m was being lost every year in Norfolk through unused prescription medicines.

Most read

Tommy Georgious's Thetford home was burgled in May and he's still waiting for insurance money to pay.
Picture by: Sonya Duncan

A man who claims he had £15,000 of damage done to his home after a burglary has staged a one man protest against a building society he says has let him down.

Read more
Thu, 17:19
Three arrested on alleged drugs offences in Thetford.

Three men have been arrested on drugs charges after a stop and search in Thetford.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:10
Jamie and Michelle Mintram, along with their children Josh and Chloe share their Weeting home and garden with 145 pets and rescue animals.Picture by: Sonya Duncan

It is your average three-bed family home, lived in by a husband, wife and two children.

Read more
11:35
Dead fish at Acle Dyke. Picture: Supplied

Environment experts will survey the region’s waterways in the coming weeks to gauge what damage the recent storms caused.

Read more
Thu, 15:26
Claire Scarff. Submitted picture

The only playgroup in Feltwell, near Thetford, is aiming for a good judgment in its next Ofsted inspection, after being told it requires improvement.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 10°C

Digital Edition

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