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Young farmer has flock taken away after sheep drowns in ditch

PUBLISHED: 14:02 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 21:47 04 December 2019

Cameron Russell, inset, has been banned from keeping livestock. Picture: NTS/Antony Kelly

Cameron Russell, inset, has been banned from keeping livestock. Picture: NTS/Antony Kelly

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A young farmer who bought his first sheep aged just 17 has been banned from keeping livestock for the next three years and had his flock taken away.

A sheep belonging to Cameron Russell in a dyke in Loddon. Picture: Norfolk Trading StandardsA sheep belonging to Cameron Russell in a dyke in Loddon. Picture: Norfolk Trading Standards

Cameron Russell, 22 and of Quebec Road in Norwich, had built up a flock of 62 sheep and 15 lambs, as he pursued an agricultural ambition he'd held since helping out on a farm as a child.

However, he must now wait three years before he is able to keep animals again, after welfare concerns from trading standards led to his disqualification and surrendering of his flock.

Leona Page, prosecuting for Norfolk County Council Trading Standards, told Norwich Magistrates Court on Tuesday that the sheep were being kept in a field in Loddon, at Bridge Street, which was surrounded by dykes.

Ms Page told magistrates the sheep were unprotected from falling into the dykes due to a lack of fencing in the field and that one of the flock had fallen in and drowned.

A sheep belonging to Cameron Russell in a dyke in Loddon. Picture: Norfolk Trading StandardsA sheep belonging to Cameron Russell in a dyke in Loddon. Picture: Norfolk Trading Standards

She added the flock had insufficient food and water supply in the field, resulting in them putting themselves in further danger by seeking out drinking water from the ditches.

But Malcolm Plummer, mitigating, said around a month before the investigation, Russell had spent five days in hospital following a serious road traffic collision and had also been the victim of theft and personal difficulties.

He said: "It was his life long dream to have a flock of sheep. He appreciates that the sheep did suffer and we are not in a situation he would have liked.

"He realises he did not do things that he should have and took his eye off the ball."

Cameron Russell who has been banned from keeping livestock for the next three years. Picture: ANTONY KELLYCameron Russell who has been banned from keeping livestock for the next three years. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Russell pleaded guilty to seven animal welfare charges.

He was given a disqualification order preventing him from keeping animals for three years, with an exception of his pet dogs, and was forced to surrender his flock. He was also ordered to pay £100 in court fees and an £85 victim surcharge.

Sophie Leney, head of Norfolk County Council Trading Standards, said: "We are satisfied with today's outcome as it reflects the seriousness of the offence."

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