A father has been sent to jail and his son fined after the pair admitted a string of offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

David Bickell, 45, of Burnham Road, North Creake, Norfolk and William Bickell, 17, of the same address, were sentenced on Thursday, October 2 at King’s Lynn magistrates’ court after admitting a number of offences following 16 horses, three cattle, 18 pigs and two dogs being found at a number of sites in north Norfolk between December 2013 and February 2014.

David Bickell admitted 14 charges and was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment – the maximum term the judge could award in light of the guilty plea.

The judge went on to say David Bickell was “not fit to be anywhere near animals” – having previously been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a mare in 2011 – and disqualified him from keeping all animals for 15 years, which he cannot appeal against for 10 years.

William Bickell admitted 13 charges and was ordered to pay £85 costs, plus a £15 surcharge, and given a six-month referral to the youth offending team. Given his remorse and cooperation, the judge decided William Bickell had been led by his father and should have the chance to move on and achieve a career away from him.

Norfolk Trading Standards and the RSPCA brought a joint prosecution against the pair following a call from a member of the public to World Horse Welfare in mid-December 2013. The charity’s field officer Jacko Jackson and Trading Standards officer Paula Cooper visited the site and found a number of animals – including several horses, two donkeys and one dog – in an emaciated condition.

The animals were deemed to be suffering and four ponies were subsequently removed into the care of World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm rescue and rehoming centre. Charity Redwings took in one Arab stallion and the two donkeys were removed to the Donkey Sanctuary.

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