Man given ban and suspended sentence for keeping ponies in a dark barn for more than 18 months

Bella and Charlie were kept in a dark and isolated barn in Methwold for many months. Here is Bella d

Bella and Charlie were kept in a dark and isolated barn in Methwold for many months. Here is Bella during her rescue. Picture: Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Credit: Archant

A man from Methwold, near Thetford, has been given a lifetime ban from keeping animals after a pony and her foal were kept in a barn with no light for more than 18 months.

Bella and Charlie were kept in a dark and isolated barn in Methwold for many months. Here is Bella d

Bella and Charlie were kept in a dark and isolated barn in Methwold for many months. Here is Bella during her rescue. Picture: Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Credit: Archant

Frederick Charles Stannard, of High Street, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act after he admitted to neglecting the ponies - Bella and Charlie - in an isolated barn.

Until his rescue, Charlie the foal had spent his entire life in the dark.

At Norwich Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, Stannard, 54, was given a lifetime ban from owning all animals and was handed a 12-week prison sentence for each offence, to run concurrently, which has been suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to pay £150 costs and a £115 victim charge.

Bella and Charlie were kept in a dark and isolated barn in Methwold for many months. Here is Bella d

Bella and Charlie were kept in a dark and isolated barn in Methwold for many months. Here is Bella during her rescue. Picture: Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Credit: Archant

RSPCA inspector Chris Nice said: 'We were made aware of these two little ponies, Charlie and Bella, back in September 2016, after a dog walker strayed from the footpath accidently, and came across the secluded barn.

'They were very lucky to have been found in this way, as who knows how much longer they would have gone on suffering, undiscovered, as the barn was in the middle of a 20-acre field, completely isolated.

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'The barn was so dark the walker couldn't see much but was concerned for the ponies and gave us a call. I went out to the property and left a calling card, that was never responded to. I became really concerned that nobody was attending these horses, so the police obtained a warrant to investigate further.'

When the ponies were examined they were found to be in a poor state and were riddled with lice, had overgrown hooves and were nervous.

The ponies have been rehabilitated at Redwings Horse Sanctuary during the past five months and now have a permanent home there.

Julie Harding, Redwings senior field officer, said: 'I am delighted by the outcome of this case. Bella and Charlie's story is a very upsetting one. 'When we found the pair, Bella had been shut in the barn for more than 18 months.

'After a month of being closed in the barn, Bella gave birth to Charlie, so for the first 17 months of his life before his rescue, Charlie never felt the sun on his back. I cannot understand why someone would treat their horses this way.'

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