A farmer has admitted leaving rotting carcasses around his farm, which could have led to a serious disease outbreak.
Albert Nelson, 76, failed to dispose of dead sheep around his farm in Broughton, near Preston, and his animals had access to raw meat, Preston Magistrates Court heard.
Graphic photographs taken by inspectors show rotting carcasses dumped in wheelie bins, trailers, under metal sheeting and even in an animal pen at Bank Hall Farm.
He was prosecuted under laws designed to prevent disease outbreaks such as foot-and-mouth and BSE.
Prosecuting for Lancashire Trading Standards, Nick McNamara said: “The circumstances go back to March 20, 2013, when animal health officers, responding to a complaint, attended the defendant’s farm at Broughton. The purpose of the officers’ visit was to inspect the proper disposal of livestock carcasses and, having first introduced themselves to Mr Nelson, they set about an inspection of farm buildings in a yard near the farmhouse.
“The first building they entered is described as a pig building where they found three sheep and a lamb. At the back of the pig building was an area containing two large sows, in front of which were piled crates and plastic bags containing scraps of pink meat.
“Outside the pig building, in the farmyard, were piled tins of an Indian vegetable-type food product bearing an expired best-before date. And in the boot of a nearby pick-up were found bags of unlabelled dry feed.”
Nelson, described as a “small-scale keeper of livestock” including sheep, cattle and pigs, was unable to produce records of where he bought the products.
Officers were so concerned the inspection was suspended to call in specialists from the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA). When the inspection re-commenced, following the arrival of two vets, officers found raw meat and bones in the sheep pen and in the ring feeder.
Officers found sheep carcasses under some corrugated metal sheeting and under a blanket in a yard.
They also found a makeshift stable containing the carcass of a horned sheep, the face of which had been eaten away, and a trailer full of bones, skeletons and black binbags.
Nelson was issued with an immediate standstill notice to prohibit him moving any live animals off or onto the farm.
He was also issued with an animal-by products notice requiring the immediate removal of the carcasses.
Two further visits took place six days later and on April 9, 18 and 26 where similar finds were made.
Mr McNamara added: “Rotting carcasses pose a real and obvious risk to the environment. Clearly, many of the carcasses found on Mr Nelson’s land had been there for some length of time, given their severely decomposed condition. And it stands to reason that somebody on the farm knew there were carcasses about, given some of the crude attempts to conceal them beneath rubbish, in bags and, in the case of two animals, in wheelie bins.”
Nelson admitted seven contraventions of disease control measures.
Defending, Angela Rossi said the offences happened at a time when the farmer was suffering from ill health.
She said: “Six months earlier DEFRA had visited and said everything was ok and so something has got out of hand in a short space of time.”
The chairman of the magistrates bench said: “There was a very real and obvious risk to the environment and disregard to other animals and a serious risk to land and water.”
He will be sentenced on September 3.