THE hearing of five people facing animal cruelty charges has been adjourned.

The hearing is in relation to the discovery of 32 dead horses, donkeys and ponies at a farm near Amersham in January.

The RSPCA rescued 111 equines from the farm on January 4 in one of the biggest horse welfare cases on record in the UK.

James Gray, 44, Julie Gray, 40, Jodie Gray, 25, and Cordelia Gray, 19, all of Spindles Farm in Chalk Lane, Hyde Heath, and a teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were due to plead in relation to charges under the Animal Welfare Act today.

But at Oxford Magistrates Court district judge Sandeep Kainth adjourned the case until Friday, April 4.

Mr Gray has made an application to have some of the animals which were rescued from the farm returned to him.

Both issues will be dealt with jointly next Friday, when witnesses will be summoned to give evidence.

Around a dozen people gathered outside court.