A TIDWORTH farmer who forced his sheep to graze among rotten animal carcases has been slapped with a banning order.

Farmer Michael Tennick, of Sawyer Close, has been banned from keeping sheep for three years and faces fines totalling £1,500 following an investigation by council chiefs.

The probe was launched following a tip-off from a concerned member of the public, who reported concerns about the farm in Monxton, near Andover.

When inspectors visited in February last year, they found a lame ram in a field, that was grazing a paddock littered with debris, some of which posed a serious risk of injury.

They then found carcasses of sheep and poultry strewn throughout the paddocks, which had decomposed where they lay.

Hampshire County Council's Trading Standards team found this breached regulations, which call for immediate disposal of animals that have died – in a bid to stop the spread of disease.

Tennick has pleaded guilty to six offences under animal health and welfare legislation.

He was sentenced at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on January 9.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, said: “The health and welfare of animals is something that our Trading Standards Team, and the courts, take very seriously. I am very pleased that the perpetrator responsible for the terrible conditions these animals have endured has been brought to justice.

"Not only did he fail to safeguard the welfare of his own animals – he also put the wider farming community, and public health, at risk, through his lack of regard for disease control measures.

“Farming is important to Hampshire’s rural economy, and the vast majority of people keeping livestock are doing so in a humane and ethical way, with high standards of welfare and disease control. The County Council is keen to support those who are working hard to get it right – and that includes finding and stopping those few who are not doing so.”

The investigation by Hampshire Trading Standards followed a complaint by a member of public, about a sick sheep they had seen in a paddock.

An in-depth investigation uncovered failures to comply with regulations to prevent disease, disposal requirements which can pose a health risk and further offences relating to the traceability of animals in the event of disease outbreak.

Councillor Perry added: “I would like to pay tribute to our team of Trading Standards officers.

"It is largely thanks to their tenacity that this flagrant disregard for public health, and also for the health and wellbeing of animals, has been brought to justice.”