A BROTHER and sister, charged with cruelty to animals on their farm, denied they had done anything wrong yesterday.

Dorothy Tinkler, 57, and her brother, William, 58, face seven charges of failing to feed cattle properly at Goulton Holme Farm, Faceby, North Yorkshire.

The RSCPCA also says they failed to abide by a notice ordering them to comply with animal welfare regulations and had no access or knowledge of the accepted codes of conduct which govern the care of livestock.

Giving evidence at Richmond Magistrates Court yesterday, the animal welfare charity's chief inspector, Neil Mitchell, described the conditions the cattle were kept in as appalling.

Vet Leonard Metcalfe also described the seven heifers - seen by magistrates on a video screened in court - as "chronically emaciated".

The Tinklers' vet, David Wittrick, of Northallerton, called by defence solicitor Patrick Till, confirmed he had reservations about the Tinklers' livestock but described them as "in a poor condition, but acceptable".

Ms Tinkler, who shares a home with her brother at Village Farm, Faceby, said that regulations imposed in the wake of the foot-and-mouth crisis were to blame for the condition of the animals when the RSPCA called in March last year.

She accepted that some of their cattle were lean, but said it was only because they had more animals on the farm than usual due to movement restrictions.

She said this meant that the smaller ones were being bullied away from the food troughs by the older and larger animals.

The trial continues.