A traveller from Lancashire has been banned for keeping equines for 10 years after four horses died in his care.

Steven Lee, 27, of Preston, pleaded guilty on 21 August to causing unnecessary suffering to a group of horses.

Yesterday (Wednesday 4 September) he was banned for 10 years and fined £5,000 costs at Blackpool Magistrates Court. He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

Lee pleaded guilty to allowing two of his horses to die in a local field. Eight remaining horses were removed from a field off Mythop Road, Marton by the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare. Two of them were later put down.

“These horses, all young mares, were living in a field during the winter with no shelter, the weather was atrocious, it was snowing and they had very little to eat or drink,” said World Horse Welfare field office John Cunningham.

“One small skewbald coloured horse was emaciated; she was matted with greenish discharge and in a really sorry state.

“After examination from vets it became apparent that this young mare and three other horses were suffering from a severe parasite infestation. The parasite infestation was disrupting the horses’ guts from functioning properly and forcing the equines to endure severe diarrhoea.

“Two mares had it so badly that they had to be put to sleep, there was nothing we could do to help them.”

David Catlow from Oakhill Veterinary Practice added: “Basic husbandry needs were not met for many months which resulted in a severe internal parasite worm burden. These horses had suffered unnecessarily for at least two weeks, but have had a significant worm burden for many months leading to these catastrophic events.”

Prosecutors said that Lee failed to provide adequate veterinary care and worming medication in order to protect his horses from pain and suffering.