Tarleton farm at centre of Preston exotic animal neglect case involving Hesketh Bank unlicensed animal trader

One of several creatures in the care of Bradley Tomes that was tragically found dead
One of several creatures in the care of Bradley Tomes that was tragically found dead

An unlicensed animal trader who operated from a remote Lancashire farm has been given a suspended jail term and five year animal ban after a court heard a string of exotic animals died in his care.

Bradley Tomes got 20 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months, and 120 hours unpaid work, after admitting 13 offences of failing to meet the needs of 16 animals and 26 birds by failing to provide them with a suitable environment, and in one case failing to provide suitable nutrition.

THE CASE IN PICTURES: Warning - upsetting images of animals

Tomes, 24, of Moss Lane, Hesketh Bank, near Preston, also admits he caused unnecessary suffering to four iguanas by a failure to seek appropriate veterinary care for injuries to their tails.

He admitted he did not take reasonable steps to ensure that the needs of six iguanas were met by his failure to explore and address their poor bodily condition.

The other charges relate to two adult Mara, 16 peafowl, and two pelicans, three agouti, five porcupines, two Jardine parrots, a white necked raven, a Cape parrot, a golden pheasant, a green winged macaw - which was found dead - and a green parakeet.

Two animals, an Agouti and a Mara, have subsequently died, and the court heard further dead birds and animals were discovered at the same locations but are not subject to charges, as the cause of death cannot be established.

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Prosecuting, Paul Ridehalgh said on January 17 police attended Johnson's Farm, on Taylor's Meanygate in Tarleton and saw a significant number of exotic animals and birds housed in inappropriate conditions, and deceased birds and animals - including the skeletons of two deceased goats in a static caravan.

He added: " These are serious matters particularly as it is clear that the defendant has been an unlicensed trader in exotic animals and birds for some time."

" The smell was overpowering. The skeletons and remains of other birds and animals were found throughout the location. .

"Later the same day the officers attended the defendant’s home on Moss Lane, Hesketh Bank where they conducted a search of the premises including the defendant’s bedroom.

"At this location the police officers observed a number of exotic birds including parrots pea fowl, pheasants as well as a white necked Raven and a Bali Starling which are both listed on the CITES ( Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) register, together with a number of dead and decomposing birds and animals all within aviaries and enclosures behind the house."

The court heard a birthday card was found in his bedroom on which was written a number of species of animals with a monetary value.

A probe found online advertisements connected with the defendant offering for sale numerous and various exotic animals and birds including raccoon dogs, fruit bats, meerkats and parrots, parakeets and cockatoos.

Tomes had never applied for a licence to sell animals as pets or to trade endangered species.

The next day the RSPCA attended the farm

An inspector found enclosures had no heat or lighting and the floors were mud.

A porcupine was found in a small metal dog crates with no food or water and it kept trapping its spines in the mesh walls of the crate
There were also two static caravans on the site which had been converted to hold animals.

An outside pen open to the elements with four more porcupines had no heating, food or shelter.

Mara - rabbit like rodents - were found in plastic poultry crates with no food or water and could not stand up or move around.

In another cage a carcass of a Coati, a large South American mammal, was found, with dead chicks and bones in the corner.

The cage was too small for it if it had been alive and there was no provision for its welfare. Some animal bones were littered within the cage and dead
chicks were piled in a corner.

An empty tortoise shell was found in a polytunnel, with three Agoutis running around. 13 Pea hens and two Pelicans were also housed in the tunnel.

Mr Ridehjalgh added: " The Inspector describes herself at being in complete shock as to the conditions on the farm and the number of dead carcasses and skeletons found at the location.

" At Johnson’s farm there were a large number of apparently unused greenhouses and many structures - static caravans, wooden sheds, mesh and wood structures,

metal cages and a semi-cylindrical bird Aviary - appeared to have been used or were being used as animal enclosures as well as various animal transportation boxes and cages.

"Some had ragged holes in the wooden floors exposing a cavity underneath, and others being highly contaminated with faecal material, debris and carcasses.

"There was a small plastic open topped box containing water and dead fish. "

At his home in Hesketh Bank were three dead parrots and two pheasants.

The aviaries all had poor hygiene levels with large amounts of food debris and faecal material covering the floors.

Six young green iguanas were housed in a room in a wood and glass vivarium that was too cold. They were dehydrated and underweight.

In interview Tomes said he was unaware that he needed to hold a certificate/licence, and did not accept any of the animals suffered as a result of his failings.

He appeared before Preston Magistrates' Court where he was disqualified from owning, keeping, dealing in or transporting animals and must also pay £500 costs and a surcharge of £115.