Dealer James Gray has been released from prison after serving just over 12 weeks of an eight-month sentence for cruelty to around 150 equines.

The appalling conditions discovered at Spindles Farm, Amersham, in January 2008 attracted national and worldwide media coverage.

The case is one of the biggest brought by the RSPCA and cost the charity around £2.3million.

Gray was sentenced to eight months in jail at Aylesbury Crown Court on 27 May, after two weeks on the run.

He was also banned from keeping equines for life.

Buckinghamshire Trading Standards, which assisted the RSPCA in the case, confirmed to H&H that Gray has been released from prison.

But the horse dealer is not living at Spindles Farm, which is currently being sold.

Peter Smith, of chartered surveyors PJSA, said a local man had made a sucessful offer for the 40-acre farm and five-bedroom farmhouse.

But he said because Mr Gray had been declared bankrupt in April, the sale is taking a long time to progress.

Mr Smith said: “We are having to deal with the trustees in Mr Gray’s bankruptcy so it’s quite slow, but the process grinds on. The buyer is being incredibly patient.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (16 September, ’10)