08:00 Friday 30 November 2012

RSPCA raids sanctuary

Written byKATIE BOWLER

A RESCUE centre was raided by police and the RSPCA amid animal welfare concerns.

Officers descended on Burton Wildlife and Animal Rescue Centre yesterday morning and confiscated a range of medications.

They also found two dead animals, understood to be a sheep and a pigeon, at the centre in Etwall and owner Lindsay Newell’s house in Lincoln Road, Stapenhill.

Simon Davies, chief inspector for the RSPCA in Staffordshire, told the Mail at the scene: “We have a number of concerns for animal welfare, including the living conditions, and we believe that long-term needs of the animals are not being met.”

Dozens of police officers, RSPCA inspectors and trading standards officials investigated the living conditions of the animals, how they were being treated and what condition they were in. A Canada goose was seized from Miss Newell’s home.

Mr Davies added: “One goose has been seized from Lincoln Road and the police have seized some medications used for animals.

“We have high concerns for the wildlife and their living conditions at the Lincoln Road site.

“No animals have as yet been seized from the Etwall site but we suspect there will be, as we have serious concerns for the livestock there.

“We have issued several improvement notices about the living conditions to ensure the animals’ future welfare.

“We have also called in an independent vet to give professional opinions on our findings.

“We are investigating alongside the police and trading standards. We suspect the investigation could take two days.”

PC Ellie Sewell, who was involved in the raid, said: “The action we have carried out today was part of a county-wide operation called Operation Mako, which is tackling rural crime.

“We are targeting people throughout Staffordshire in a range of aspects such as poachers, baiters, plant thefts, and spot checking people who have been banned from keeping animals.

“As part of the operation we are working closely with the RSPCA to investigate claims made about Burton Wildlife and Animal Rescue Centre.”

Miss Newell, who declined to comment to the Mail, initially set up the centre in her back garden in memory of her grandparents, who were murdered in 2007.

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