A South Hams farmer has been banned from keeping animals after leaving his livestock in shocking conditions.

William Luscombe, of Stone Farm, Ugborough, pleaded guilty to neglecting the cattle and sheep in his care.

He also admitted failing to protect his cattle from pain and suffering.

Luscombe was ordered to pay around £2,000 in costs and fees at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, September 3.

The court heard that officers from Trading Standards and the Animal and Plant Health Agency visited his farm in November 2018.

They found sharp metal, barbed wire, waste plastic and sheet metal, which could have injured livestock, where animals were kept.

One cow was seen struggling to walk properly on an overgrown hoof.

The court heard it was wagging its leg, which is a sign of discomfort and pain.

Another had a swollen foot and was lame.

Numerous remains were found, including a whole carcass of a calf in the main yard.

Multiple sheep carcasses were also found in different stages of decay.

The court heard some had been burned and their charred remains were left to accumulate.

None of the carcasses were covered or disposed of in the correct manner.

Mark Arden, defending, said that Luscombe had been suffering from depression and was struggling to run the farm by himself.

Magistrates recognised this during sentencing but said they could not ignore the fact that animals had suffered.

Luscombe pleaded guilty to five charges under the Animal Welfare Act, five charges under the Animal By-Products Regulations and two charges under the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations.

Alex Roddis, of Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service, said: “The welfare legislation for animals sets out very clearly the acceptable standards that those keeping animals must meet and in allowing animals to suffer.

“Mr Luscombe has fallen well short of these standards.

“Despite the efforts and advice offered by Trading Standards and Animal and Plant Health Agency vets Mr Luscombe continued to operate in a non-compliant manner.”

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said: “Our staff work hard to try to support farmers in relation to animal care.

“But when advice is repeatedly ignored or where we find serious breaches, we will take appropriate action and work with partners to prosecute those responsible.

“Thankfully, having to take this kind of legal action is rare, and most farmers and smallholders take the welfare of their animals very seriously.”