A FARMER who admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a ewe which was believed to have been trapped in a fence for two days, with eyes pecked by birds, received a six weeks suspended jail term on Monday.

Magistrates at Llandudno heard the animal needed destroying humanely by a vet but Selwyn Roberts, 56, of Pengwern Farm,  Henllan, near Denbigh, had suggested slaughtering it with a knife.

He also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a sheep and lamb by failing to obtain veterinary care during birth which resulted in their deaths in April last year.

There were guilty pleas to 13 other charges, including failing to dispose of 20 carcasses, open to birds and some crawling with maggots, failing to tag sheep, obstructing an officer, breaching farming regulations and not making an annual inventory.

Roberts was fined a total of £1,200 and ordered to pay £2,615 costs.

Court chairwoman Hilary Owen told him: "We are pleased to note there has been significant improvement at the farm. You have clearly made efforts to improve things. That improvement must continue.”

Defence solicitor Adrian Roberts told the court the defendant, who is single, kept 1,200 sheep in 380 acres and had farmed all his life. His father died in 2014 but there was a probate dispute and farm payments had been suspended so his client ended up in a financial crisis.

It meant the defendant had no means of getting sheep off the top of hills and couldn’t afford the knackers to take them away.

However, he was now able to pay bills after a payment.

The lawyer added that the knife suggestion had been “words of frustration” as the vet tried to deal with the ewe.

Lesley Mitchell, prosecuting for Conwy council, said six visits were made to inspect the farm between April and June after a complaint from a member of the public about the welfare of sheep.