Court heard maggot-infested sheep had not been shorn for two seasons and one lamb had to be put down in Chittlehampton.

A Chittlehampton couple has pleaded guilty to four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep.

Anthony and Bridget Barrell of Chittlehampton appeared at Exeter Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The sheep had not been shorn for two seasons and despite receiving repeated welfare advice, when inspected by AHPA vets, animals were found to be suffering from severe fly strike with maggots boring into the flesh.

One lamb was found to be emaciated and so close to death that it had to be euthanized to avoid further suffering.

Magistrates found the suffering of such a serious nature they imposed a custodial sentence of 11 weeks, suspended for 12 months.

They were also disqualified from keeping cattle, sheep, pigs and goats for a period of seven years.

The case is the second that Devon and Somerset Trading Standards has brought against the Barrells.

In 2013 the couple were found guilty of animal welfare offences against sheep and cattle, and failing to dispose of animal carcasses.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “The condition of livestock found by officers, despite receiving repeated advice from Trading Standards and APHA vets, was shocking.

“I’m pleased that, thanks to the strong partnership with our APHA colleagues, we’ve been able to bring the couple to justice and prevent further cruelty to livestock.”

Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for the service said: “Where instances of unnecessary suffering are found we are committed to ensure that animals are not subjected to cruelty and action is taken against those who are responsible.”