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  1. ITV Report

Circus couple due to stand trial in elephant suffering case

A husband and wife from Northamptonshire are due to go on trial today accused of causing unnecessary suffering to a circus elephant called Anne.

Bobby and Moira Roberts are alleged to have kept the 58-year-old elephant, brought from Sri Lanka to the Bobby Roberts Super Circus in Peterborough in the 1950s, chained to the ground at all times.

Moira and Bobby Roberts deny the allegations Credit: PA

They are also accused of failing to prevent an employee from repeatedly beating Anne.

The pair, of Brook Farm, Oundle, Northamptonshire, deny causing the elephant unnecessary suffering, failing to take reasonable steps to prevent an employee from causing unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the elephant's needs were met.

They have since handed arthritic Anne to Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, where she is making good progress in her recovery.

Anne now lives in a 13-acre paddock at Longleat, complete with a giant sandpit.

Anne is recovering at Longleat Credit: PA

An update on the park's website earlier this year said there had been improvement in the condition of her skin, feet, trunk, ears and general muscle tone.

Anne is given regular physiotherapy under the guidance of an animal osteopath, a new hay barn has been dedicated to her food storage, and elephant-sized scratching posts and new feed facilities have been installed.

She is also said to be a very well-behaved elephant whose relationship with her keepers is improving daily.

The prosecution was originally brought by the Animal Defenders International, but has now been taken on by the Crown Prosecution Service.

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