SMALLHOLDERS have pleaded guilty to keeping poultry when banned.

Joanna Lutey (42) and Michael Jackson (31) who run a smallholding in St Austell, pleaded guilty to the charge before Truro magistrates on Monday.

Following a prosecution in October last year, when they were convicted of causing cruelty to birds, they were given a ten-year ban on keeping poultry.

Jackson was given a 200-hour community service order and Lutey a 100-hour community service order. They were also ordered to pay £4,000 costs.

On December 18 the ban was appealed at Truro Crown Court, but the appeal was refused and Jackson and Lutey were given a month to dispose of their birds.

However, on January 23 and again on January 31, officers from Cornwall Council’s Animal Health team visited their smallholding and discovered 120 birds (geese, ducks and chickens) living there and living in unsuitable conditions, despite a ban on the couple keeping poultry.

The poultry has since been sold and is no longer at the smallholding.

Due to their early guilty plea and the fact that the birds have now been removed, Lutey and Jackson were both given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1,000 each towards the council’s costs.

Sue James, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for environment and public protection said: “The outcome of this case shows the council’s commitment to upholding orders of the court and ensuring the health and welfare of farm animals.

"It’s important that we took this action in order to maintain the good reputation of the farming industry in Cornwall.”