Winterton man pleads not guilty to mistreating seals, court hears

A pensioner who ran a seal sanctuary kept animals in 'unhygienic' conditions and allowed them to suffer, a court heard yesterday.

Harold Nickerson, 86, formerly of Somerton Road, Winterton, pleaded not guilty to seven counts of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and one count of not keeping animals in appropriate conditions between November 27, 2010 and March 4, 2011.

Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court heard that Nickerson, who did not attend the trial, operated a small-scale seal sanctuary in Winterton where he kept orphaned and injured seals.

Inspectors from the RSPCA visited the sanctuary after a concerned member of the public alerted them on August 25, 2010. A warning was issued and inspectors visited again on March 4, 2011 and seized five seals.

The court heard that two of the seals were kept in pens in a small building, two were kept outside in a courtyard and one seal was kept in a large barn which also doubled as a gift shop.

Four of the seals were kept in dirty water and one had an ulcer on her cornea and a wound on her flipper, yesterday's hearing was told.

The trial continues.

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