Three men caught kicking and pitchforking pigs in secret footage walk free from court

Three men who were secretly filmed carrying out the "relentless" abuse of pigs have been spared jail.

Animal rights protesters outside the court

Some of the animals can be heard squealing in pain as they are kicked in the face and jabbed with pitchforks in footage showing the full extent of their mistreatment by Troy Wagstaff, 30, Artis Grogprkevs, 32, and Gavin Hardy, 39.

The men were brought to justice after being covertly filmed in April last year by the group Animal Equality, which installed secret cameras at Fir Tree Farm in Goxhill, North Lincolnshire, after receiving an anonymous tip-off about the abuse.

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Dr Toni Shephard, the UK director of the group, had previously said of the men's actions: "This is some of the worst abuse that we have seen - it was relentless."

Members of various animal right's groups were stood outside Grimsby Magistrates' Court on Thursday, where the men appeared to be sentenced, having previously admitted causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

In the video footage, the men can be seen shouting repeatedly at the animals, with two of the defendants being captured laughing as one abused sow tried to leave its pen.

District Judge Daniel Curtis handed Wagstaff, of Chantry Lane, Grimsby, Grogprkevs, of Oak Road, Goole, East Yorkshire, and Hardy, of Greengate Lane, South Killingholme, North Lincolnshire, sentences of eight weeks, suspended for 12 months.

The three men were additionally banned from working with commercial livestock in the future