Elephant Cruelty Case

20 June 2012, 10:53 | Updated: 20 June 2012, 11:10

It's been decided the owners of an elderly circus elephant, filmed apparently being beaten at stables in Northamptonshire, are going to go on trial in November.

Bobby and Moira Roberts are charged with three offences relating to the care of Anne the Sri Lankan elephant (pictured right at Longleat Safari Park), who was part of the Bobby Roberts Super Circus.

Their case has been in front of Northamptonshire magistrates this week and, following hours of legal argument, a trial date has been set for November.

The couple, of Brook Farm in Oundle, Northants, are charged with causing the elephant unnecessary suffering, failing to take reasonable steps to prevent an employee from causing unnecessary suffering by beating, and failing to ensure the elephant's needs were met.

They have denied all the charges, which include allegedly keeping Anne, who is nearly 60 and was brought from Sri Lanka to the Bobby Roberts Super Circus in Peterborough in the 1950s, chained to the ground at all times.

Secretly-filmed footage of Anne in stables at Polebrook, Northamptonshire was released in 2011.

Arthritic Anne is now living at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire to see out her days in a 13-acre paddock, with her owners' consent.

Bobby and Moira Roberts are expected to go on trial at either Corby or Kettering Magistrates' court on 19 November 2012.