A man has been found guilty of causing "unnecessary suffering" to three ponies.

The animals, referred to in court as SE1, SE2 and SE3, were seized by the RSPCA on April 11 last year.

James Mayhook, 41, of Doubleday Drive, Heybridge, was found guilty of two charges of failing to investigate and address the cause of SE1 and SE2's underweight condition and causing them suffering, and three charges of failing to meet the needs of animals he was responsible for by not providing a suitable diet for SE1, SE2 or SE3.

Lynne Shirley, prosecuting, told Chelmsford Magistrates' Court that RSPCA inspector Sarah Elmy was immediately concerned when she saw the animals.

Miss Shirley said said: "Inspector Elmy could see there was a problem, when she ran her hands along them she could feel ribs and hips.

"The vet says SE1 was malnourished and emaciated."