A FARMER who allowed hundreds of sheep to die in what has been described as causing “unnecessary suffering” has been spared jail.

Sick Daniel Waring, 48, kept sheep in "terrible conditions" on the ramshackle Haithwaite Farm in north Cumbria.

More than 640 of Waring’s sheep died due to starvation and neglect from January 2017 to January 2018.

He then shockingly failed to properly dispose of animal carcasses in a timely manner, which were left to rot in the open.

Waring pleaded guilty to a catalogue of more than 30 vile offences at Carlisle Magistrates Court in July but was spared jail on Wednesday.

Judge Chalk was highly critical of Waring’s farming practices and banned him from keeping animals for seven years.

He was also given a prison sentence of 120 days suspended for 12 months, required to carry out 110 days unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £17,783.

Jon Farnworth, prosecuting on behalf of Cumbria Trading Standards, outlined three sets of offences admitted by the farmer and sheep trader.

Waring pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to sheep between December 2017 and January 2018.

Other offences admitted by Waring related to his failure to abide by strict disease control regulations governing animal movements.

The first group of offences were breaches of so-called “standstill” rules, which mean that when new animals are brought on to a farm no livestock can leave that farm for at least six days.

Also Waring failed to adequately report and keep farm records.

The third group of offences related to his failure to dispose of animal carcasses in a timely manner.

Councillor Celia Tibble, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards, said: “This was a long and complex investigation which has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

"We support the farming community but where poor practice and unnecessary suffering are discovered we will intervene and take action.

"These animals were kept in terrible conditions, animal cruelty will not be tolerated.

“Laws are there for a reason, to control disease, to protect animals and to ensure the safety of the wider food chain.”