TWO men were facing jail sentences last night after the horrific slaughter of ten goats in an unlicensed abattoir was caught on film by an undercover investigator.

It showed that the slaughter of the animals, at Londonderry, near Bedale, North Yorkshire, was so inept that they were butchered "while they still appeared to be alive".

A district judge at Harrogate magistrates court was told yesterday how the goats were killed in a barn using a blunt knife.

RSPCA prosecutor Tony Kelbrick said the animals were being killed in the halal fashion but the premises were unlicensed and the method was "inept, clumsy and cruel and caused considerable pain and suffering".

He added: "It can clearly be seen on the video that a number of cuts were required to sever the arteries and veins and a sawing motion was required as opposed to a clean cut."

Michael Hawkswell, 26, of Nunwick, near Ripon, North Yorkshire, and Isap Lakha, 67, of Saville Road, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, both admitted their parts in the illegal slaughter.

Lakha, a retired slaughterman with 20 years' experience, pleaded guilty to cruelly ill-treating ten goats and slaughtering the animals without a licence.

Hawkswell admitted allowing goats he owned to be cruelly ill-treated and also allowing premises to be used as a slaughterhouse without a licence.

The court heard how Martin Coutts, from the Hillside Animal Sanctuary in East Anglia, began investigating the men after a tip-off. Undercover investigator Graham Hall was brought in to make a video and the tape was passed to the RSPCA.

The goats were bought at a market in Haswell, County Durham, before they were brought to North Yorkshire for slaughter on January 14 last year.

Lakha bought the animal carcasses for about £200 after the slaughter but insisted they were not for commercial sale. He said the meat was to help feed his large extended family, which included about 150 people.

District Judge Roy Anderson adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports but told the defendants: "In both your cases I should tell you now I'm considering a custodial sentence."

After the hearing Mike Butcher, Chief Inspector in the RSPCA's special investigation unit, said: "The goats suffered immense cruelty and the video is one of the worst I have seen in 30 years in this job."

He added: "Done in a licensed slaughterhouse in the proper way with a sharp knife, slaughtering in the halal way is so quick the animal doesn't feel any pain."