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A Watford man has been banned from keeping horses for life after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to a horse.

Paul Taylor aged 46 of Otley Way, Watford, pleaded guilty to failing to provide adequate nutrition for elderly piebald stallion, Milo.

Milo was found in a field in the town in April with his spine, hips and ribs clearly visible.

Watford Magistrates Court was told that Taylor was a heroin addict, with very little horse experience, who liked to spend time with the travelling community.

He was sentenced on 12 December at Stevenage Magistrates Court.

He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and to pay £2,000 costs.

Milo is thought to be around 18 years of age and is very sociable. Following being signed over to the RSPCA he has been gelded.

RSPCA inspector Rachel Smith said: “This is a really great result for the RSPCA – it sends a strong message to the local horse-trading community that they cannot just put out their horses to fly-graze.

“They must take responsibility for all the needs of their animals.”