‘Under-threat’ child sex offender let chickens die

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A CONVICTED child sex offender from Sutton Bridge has been banned from keeping animals for ten years after he was found to have neglected his chickens.

Colin Minns, of Chalk Lane, confessed to not checking on the 18 birds for three weeks because he felt “threatened” about going out after being accused of a string of sex offences.

Last month, Minns (51) was sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes including rape and sex with a child under the age of 13.

On Tuesday, he appeared before Spalding Magistrates’ Court accused of five charges of failing to meet the needs of the chickens and causing them unnecessary suffering.

The court was told how the RSPCA had been alerted to the problem at allotments in Custom House Street by an anonymous caller.

Beris Brickles, prosecuting, said an inspector found seven dead chickens and 11 live birds inside the hen house when he visited on October 31 last year.

He made two further visits and Minns was identifed as the owner.

Mr Brickles said Minns admitted to not visiting them for three weeks during an interview at his home and agreed to sign over the hens into the care of the RSPCA.

He said: “The hens were examined by a veterinary surgeon on November 2. The dead included six hens and one cockerel, which were very emaciated and had very little food.

“There was feather loss, which could have been a sign of bullying from the other chickens and could be from a lack of food. “Fly eggs had been laid on the bodies.”

Mr Brickles said their average weight was 1.28Kg. The live birds weighed an average of 1.93Kg.

Breed guidelines for Sussex hens suggest an average weight of about 3.2Kg.

Defending, Mike Alexander, said Minns had been looking after chickens for about 23 years and had never had any problems.

He told the court an inspector had visited a couple of months earlier and reported the chickens were healthy.

He said: “For 23 years he has taken a keen interest in looking after them but what has turned that man into a man who has not attended to them for three weeks?

“He said he felt threatened and did not go visit. He had left food and water outside of the building.”

Mr Alexander said Mr Minns had left the hen house door open but somehow it had become shut.

He added: “He should have made other arrangements. It does not excuse him but perhaps you can understand what was going through that man’s mind.”

Magistrates sentenced Minns to 28 days in custody concurrently for each of the five offences. This will run concurrently to the 15 year sentence he is now serving.

Minns has been banned from keeping animals for ten years and magistrates also ordered a veterinary bill for £337.25 be paid out of central funds.