INVESTIGATORS acting on a tip-off raided a farm near Chester and discovered horrific scenes including bovine skeletons and rotting cattle carcasses.
Award-winning farmer James Gordon Knight Stratton, 49, has pleaded guilty to a string of charges following the raid on Cold Harbour Farm in Hatton Heath.
Animal welfare officers visited the farm on Platts Lane in February and made the grisly discovery.Stratton, who lives nearby at Churton Heath Farm, Chapel Lane, admitted 20 separate offences at West Cheshire Magistrates Court.
He pleaded guilty to four breaches of Animal By-Product Regulations after rotting carcasses and skeletal bones were found on the farm.
Stratton also admitted six breaches of the Animal Welfare Act including causing unnecessary suffering to cattle and 10 breaches of Cattle Identification Regulations including failing to register animals and switching identification ear tags.
All of the offences took place between January 1, 2012, and February 13, 2013.
District Judge Michael Abelson described the case as ‘unusual’ and told Stratton he would be sentenced at Chester Crown Court, adding that all options would be kept open including prison.
He said: “I was expecting to see a defendant who was wholly incapable of looking after wildlife but on the face of it he seems to be a respectable businessman.
“I have sat on many of these types of cases and usually the defendant can barely look after themselves but this man has been a successful farmer for many years.
“This is a particularly bad example.”
Matthew Corbett Jones, prosecuting, asked the judge to commit Stratton to crown court for sentencing and Tim Edgeley, defending, said he was unable to oppose that.
Stratton, whose wife Vanessa had also been due to face the court before the charges against her were dropped, was given unconditional bail.