Buckinghamshire horse dealer Jamie Gray has been sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to assaulting a police officer.

Gray, 44, was charged with causing criminal damage and assaulting a police officer when his Spindle Farm in Buckinghamshire was searched on 4 January.

Following the search, 111 horses, ponies and donkeys were rescued from Spindle Farm in Hyde Heath, Buckinghamshire, in varying states of neglect. The record-breaking operation attracted widespread interest from the media and public up and down the country.

At Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court on 4 February Gray pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to an RSPCA van during the 4 January search. He was found guilty in his absence of assaulting PC James Metcalfe at Aylesbury on 6 May.

Gray’s lawyer, Chloe Fordham, told Aylesbury Magistrates Court that the dealer was “extremely upset” during the search. She said James Gray reacted “impulsively” on 4 January when he pushed PC Metcalfe against a dog cage and threatened to set a rottweiler on him.

The court accepted Ms Fordham’s argument. Chairman of the bench Brian Saunders said PC Metcalfe sustained no injuries, and that “emotions were running high”.

Gray was sentenced to 70 hours of unpaid work for criminal damage, and 180 hours for assaulting the police officer, with the two sentences to run concurrently.

He was also ordered to pay £100 compensation to PC Metcalfe, £100 to the RSPCA and £455 costs within 14 days.