Warrant out for cruel couple who were banned from keeping animals

Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.
Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a couple who breached an order banning them from keeping animals.

Darren and Frances French were convicted of animal cruelty offences in 2012, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.

“They were banned from keeping all animals for 10 years from that date,” said John Ellwood, prosecuting.

“On April 27 of this year, an RSPCA inspector called at their house and found two cats, a kitten, and a hamster.

“When asked about the ban, the couple said they either thought it had expired, or that it didn’t apply to cats.”

Darren French, 49, and Frances French, 46, both of Snowdon Place, Peterlee, are each charged with breaching a disqualification imposed after an animal cruelty conviction.

Neither of the defendants was present in court.

The magistrates were told an email had been received from one of the defendants saying they could not afford the bus fare to get to Hartlepool, but both intended to plead guilty.

The couple were convicted in their absence.

Mr Ellwood told the court it would be possible to sentence the couple without them being present, but that couldn’t be done if the magistrates were considering a further period of disqualification.

The magistrates issued a warrant for the arrest of Darren and Frances French.