A TA soldier who left his pet ferret in a wardrobe while he went on manoeuvres has been banned from keeping animals for three years.

Daniel Jones, 22, of Devon Place, Newport, left his ferret in a wardrobe for two weeks while he was away on manoeuvres with the TA without making any provision for the animal’s care.

Jones was charged with failing to meet the welfare needs of the ferret under section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act after leaving the 10-week-old ferret when he went away on June 28, 2013.

The animal was discovered when Jones' landlord heard a scratching and whining coming from the room that he rented on New Street in Cwmbran.

Fearing there could be a rat in the building, the landlord entered the room and discovered the cream coloured ferret in a small hamster cage inside the wardrobe without any food or water.

As he knew Jones was due to be away for a fortnight, he contacted the RSPCA for help.

Jones was banned from keeping any type of animal for three years after being sentenced in his absence at Newport Magistrates' Court.

As well as the ban, Jones was also given a 12-month community order with six months of unpaid work and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

RSPCA Inspector Emma Smith said: "Luckily the ferret was discovered in time but with no food or water the outcome would have been quite different after two weeks.

Essentially Mr Jones showed a complete disregard for this poor animal’s welfare.

“Happily, this little ferret has had a happy ending and has been successfully re-homed.”