A shepherd who beat 2,500 other applicants to win the tenancy of a £1 million farm for £1 a year told council officers how a “dream come true” had turned into a nightmare, a court heard.

Daniel Jones, 40, was in 2016 granted the tenancy of the National Trust’s 145-acre Parc Farm on the picturesque Great Orme headland. But he’d told trading standards officers, who quizzed him about three sheep carcasses and allegedly failing to comply with notification requirements about animal movements, of the pressure he’d faced.

“It’s been affecting my personal life as well, working all the time,” he’d declared in interview. He’d been a farmer for 15 years. But Mr Jones, from Anglesey, had stated :“The Orme is just a massive step up and a big area.”

Mr Jones said he’d cleared the carcasses as soon as he knew they were there. He had told the Conwy council officials :”I don’t know how I missed them.” But he had “so much going on.”

He said :”I was just running around everywhere.”

Mr Jones added :”I thought I was doing everything OK but obviously I’m not. Getting this farm was like a dream come true for me.”

Charlotte Walker Williams, a trading standards officer, said Mr Jones described how he had developed a stress-related condition.

She said there was no concern about the welfare of animals.

She recalled how officers visited the farm in January last year after a complaint from a member of the public about dead sheep. She said there were three carcasses.

Mr Jones said in interview that he had been a farmer since 2004 and moved into Parc Farm just before Christmas 2016. He had more than 500 sheep and lambs.

The defendant told how he had been kept busy going around catching sheep which wandered on to the lower slopes of the Great Orme and into the town – something the headland’s famous herd of goats also often do. “Every phone call I get I have to go straightaway. The last thing I want to do is upset the people of Llandudno,” he’d explained in interview.

Mr Jones said he’d “changed a lot of things.” There had been an emergency meeting with the National Trust about fencing and he’d bought an all-terrain vehicle. “I do about 25 miles a day in this little buggy going around the Orme,” he said.

He is yet to give evidence in the trial at Llandudno court.

But Mr Jones’s solicitor has claimed he was targeted by council officials eager to restore their reputation after losing a series of court cases.

Lawyer David Kirwan said that Mr Jones was told by one trading standards officer: “Farmers around here think we are a joke and we need to show them we are not a joke.”

According to Mr Kirwan, it showed the motive behind the decision to prosecute Mr Jones.

He originally faced 20 charges but nine of them were dropped.

District judge Gwyn Jones is hearing the trial in which Mr Jones now faces one charge of failing to dispose of three sheep carcasses, one of failing to keep a

register of animal movements and nine of failing to notify the authorities of animals he had

received between 2016, when he took over the tenancy, and 2018.

Mr Kirwan has argued that Conwy county council could have dealt with the issues in a different way, such as “a tap on the wrist” or serving a statutory notice on his client.

“This whole case amounts to a barrel-scraping exercise,” he commented. “Conwy decided to

make an example of Daniel to try to restore its reputation.”

As a result of the charges being brought Mr Jones, who pleaded not guilty, had been “put through 17 months of a nightmare.”

Barrister John Wyn Williams, prosecuting for the council, has told the judge the authority

acted reasonably in bringing the case. He said Mr Jones had failed to comply with movement regulations for his sheep and lambs.

The trial continues.