Men from Great Yarmouth and Diss areas sentenced after neglected horse found by Acle Straight

The rescue of this underweight and severely lame horse from a Norfolk field off the A47 led to three men being banned from keeping all animals for up to 10 years yesterday.

Found by the Acle Straight near Great Yarmouth last April with its ribs clearly visible, the roan colt also had a bad lesion on one of its hind legs.

Yarmouth magistrates banned the horse's owner Kenneth Shaw of Essex from keeping any animals for 10 years and also handed out bans to two people enlisted to look after the colt.

One of the men was Darren Holmes of Croft Hill, Stokesby, near Yarmouth, who drives a horse drawn landau along Yarmouth seafront in the summer season.

A 10 year ban means the 37-year-old will have to give up his livelihood and his wife will have to care for his three horses.

The other man to receive a ban was Ian Robson, 64 of Chestnut Road, Pulham St Mary near Diss who can not keep or care for any animal for five years.

Yarmouth magistrates heard RSPCA inspector John Jenkins was called out to the field on April 16.

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Kevin Batch, prosecuting, said: 'The colt was deemed to underweight, suffering a skin lesion and was found to be lame.'

The horse was seized by police and handed over to the Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

Vets estimated that the horse had been in considerable pain for up to two weeks and it was also infested with lice and worms.

Mr Batch said the horse seemed wary of humans and stood in a protective stance.

The horse had been in the field for six days after it was bought by Shaw, who hoped the animal would fatten up by eating grass.

Because he lived in Pitsea, Essex, the 41-year-old had asked Holmes and Robson if they would look out for the horse and half a dozen others in the field as they drove past every day.

Holmes had turned up at the field on April 16 after he noticed police and the RSPCA in the field and called in his own vet to look at the horse -even though a vet from the Redwing Horse Sancuary was there.

He had denied three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to the colt but was found guilty yesterday.

Holmes had claimed the horse was owned by another man and he went in to the field to help the animal as he owed him a favour. He denied knowing Shaw.

Chris Bentley, representing Holmes, said his client should not be banned for keeping or caring for animals as he would not able to be a self-employed landua driver.

A ban would also affect the two ponies his disabled daughter kept.

The court heard Holmes had a previous conviction for causing unnecessary suffering to sheep in 1999 in which some sheep he was looking after drowned in a dyke after they were worried by a dog.

He was also fined �150 yesterday.

Shaw, an unemployed roofer, had earlier admitted three counts of causing unnecessary suffering and as well as yesterday's ban was fined �500.

He told the court he no longer keeps horses and was sorry for the inconvenience he had caused.

Robson, who is registered disabled, had pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering and was also given a three year conditional discharge.

Julie Gowland, mitigating for Robson, said he was doing a favour for his friend of 25 years by keeping an eye out on the horses and was extremely sorry for what happened.

The colt is still at the Redwings Horse Sanctuary which after yesterday's hearing can now re-home him.

After the case RSPCA Insp Jenkins said: 'It was obvious the colt was underweight, had a limp and a lesion.

'I think the bans are a good result. They should make people aware of their responsibilities when they are looking after or caring for animals.'