A GRAN has been hit with a restraining order to stop her feeding carrots to a retired racehorse.

In a legal first, Margaret Porter, 67, was hauled before a court accused of harassing chestnut gelding Nelson by giving him the veg treat.

Glen MinikinMargaret Porter has been hit with a restraining order to stop her feeding carrots to a retired racehorse '/ '

Glen MinikinPorter ignored pleas from ex-racehorse Nelson’s owner, Suzanne Cooke, 50, to stop feeding him '/ '

And magistrates agreed with prosecutors and imposed the order to give the animal legal protection.

The unusual case came after pensioner Porter ignored pleas from Nelson’s owner, Suzanne Cooke, 50, to stop feeding him.

Porter, who was previously prosecuted for battering her estranged brother with sticks of rhubarb, said she first spotted Nelson in his ­paddock in December last year.

She told York magistrates’ court: “I saw him standing outside his stables and I thought he looked quite sad. I passed six or seven times a day and didn’t see his owner with him once.

“He looked thin. I was getting quite distressed about the situation. I decided to give him a few carrots at the fence. It never occurred to me that anyone else would be bothered about that. I just didn’t want him starving to death.”

Her dispute with Mrs Cooke became the talk of the village of Scruton, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.

Glen MinikinThe RSPCA carried out a welfare check on Nelson after Porter contacted them and concluded Nelson was in tip-top shape '/ '

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The parish council was asked to intervene in the increasingly bitter feud before the RSPCA and police were called out.

The RSPCA carried out a welfare check after Porter contacted them and concluded Nelson was in tip-top shape. But she continued to feed him carrots until she was eventually arrested in April and charged with harassment.

Carer Mrs Cooke told JPs: “I am tired of this happening and worried that she may make my horse ill. I don’t know what she is giving it.”

Magistrate Hilary Fairwood said: “Her conduct could be considered laudable in that she truly believed she was trying to prevent the neglect of the horse.

“However after the RSPCA visit and police intervention she continued despite being explicitly told the RSPCA had no concerns whatsoever. Her conduct was not reasonable and we find her guilty of the charge.”

Glen MinikinThe restraining order was necessary for the protection of Nelson, who had a brief racing career under the name You’redoingwell '/ '

Mrs Fairwood said the restraining order was necessary for the protection of Nelson, who had a brief racing career under the name You’redoingwell.

It bars Porter from putting food in the horse’s field or interfering in any way.

She was also fined £180, with court costs of £310 and a £34 court surcharge.

Outside court Porter said: “It all seems so ridiculous.”

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