A LORRY carrying live sheep was turned away from the Port of Ramsgate today due to concerns for the welfare of animals on board.
Two lorries carrying live exports arrived at the port at around 9am this morning (Friday) and attempted to board the Jolene, which set sail for the continent at 11am.
While one of the lorries was permitted to travel, the other was kept behind for further inspection.
Police, RSPCA and Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) officers were present while checks took place.
Just before 2pm, the lorry was finally turned away from the port on the grounds that inspections had raised concerns for the safety of sheep on board.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: "We can confirm that one lorry due to sail on the Jolene from Ramsgate at 11am today has been turned away by the AHVLA due to animal welfare concerns highlighted by the RSPCA.
"The RSPCA inspectors are on hand and have offered to help the AHVLA with their investigations."
The lorry was reportedly taken to a farm in Lydden near Dover, where sheep are now resting.
Thanet council suspended live animal exports from the port in September 2012.
The High Court ruled in February this year that the local authority did not have the power to ban traders from using the port.
Earlier that month, Channel Livestock director Thomas Lomas had pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals in transport following the death of more than 40 sheep at Ramsgate port in 2012.
Live exports resumed from Ramsgate in March and sporadic shipments are expected to be made throughout the summer.
AHVLA and RSPCA officers are continuing inquiries into today's incident.