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File picture. George Smith, 48, was given a suspended jail sentence, after he was found standing on a wooden crate having sex with a mare in a stable in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images

A man who admitted having sex with a horse called Ruby, who prosecutors said he treated like his girlfriend, has been spared jail.

George Smith was found by Ruby's owner having sex with the horse whilst standing on a wooden crate, at a stables in Hinckley, Leicestershire.

Leicester Magistrates' Court heard that the mare's owner had become suspicious of the 48-year-old after he was previously spotted leaving the stables his shirt untucked and flies undone.

Magistrates spared Smith prison handing him a four-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months after admitting the offence of sex with a living animal.

On the day of the offence, 10 March this year, prosecutors said Smith was spotted by Ruby's owner sitting in his car in a layby.

"She later spoke to her partner and they both went back to the stables, suspecting something untoward was occurring," Sally Bedford, for the crown, said according to the Leicester Mercury.

"Inside, she saw the defendant stood behind her horse on a wooden crate, holding his t-shirt up and he had the mare's tail in his hand and was pressing hard against the mare's rear end."

Smith was then arrested and police searched the caravan where he lived and they found 10 soiled nappies, women's underpants and a teddy bear.

The owner of the mare said that Smith, an unemployed handyman, was "fixated" with Ruby and she is now considering selling the business, where she cares for other people's animals.

"This incident has deeply disturbed me. Not only finding George in the stable but the implication it has had – I'm considering giving up the yard," she said.

"I have a daughter who is the main rider of the animal. She's now scared of going to the yard.

"Although she does not know the full facts she knows George has been arrested and she's scared if we go to the stables George could be there and we could be in danger."

Defending Smith, Rashpal Singh, said his client had no previous convictions and will sell the two horses he owns.

Smith was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and given a 10-year ban from contact with animals or acquiring children's clothes or nappies.

He has been ordered to pay £200 court costs and made subject to a restraining order banning him from contacting the horse's owner or her daughter, or going to her stables in five years, reported Mirror Online.