A Thabazimbi game farmer has been sentenced to eight years in jail by the Makhado Magistrate's Court for illegal possession of 30 rhino horns, Beeld newspaper reported on Wednesday.

On Monday, magistrate Pat Cloete turned down a request for leave to appeal by Jacques Els, 39, and also refused to extend his bail pending an appeal against the sentence in the High Court in Pretoria.

Els was released on bail of R300 000 after being sentenced in March.

Defence counsel Tom Dreyer told the newspaper Els was taken into custody after the court proceedings on Monday.

He was preparing an urgent high court application for the extension of bail for Els, who intended appealing against the sentence, he said.

As part of his punishment, Els was required to pay R1 million to the Green Scorpions.

Beeld reported that he was arrested in October 2010, after buying 30 rhino horns for R760 000 from Tommy Fourie, a manager at the Maremani game farm outside Musina. Fourie committed suicide in November 2010.

According to the newspaper, senior State prosecutor Andre Weideman said Els was not involved with the killing of rhinos, as all the animals concerned had been anaesthetised and dehorned. – Sapa