Anger at latest roadkill on Dartmoor by speeding drivers
A HIT-and-run driver left two sheep dead and a lamb so badly injured it had to be put to sleep.
Farmer David Skelley now fears more of his livestock will be slaughtered on the quiet country roads on Dartmoor by drivers who break the speed limit.
The 45-year-old featured in The Herald last December after he lost 11 animals, including a cow, a pony and sheep, to hit and run drivers in the space of just a few weeks.
His appeal for action saw police carry out a series of speed checks along the Wotter to Lee Moor road, catching dozens breaking the 40mph limit.
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But at around 8am yesterday he received a call saying two of his sheep were dead, about a mile from his farm base.
"When I arrived there was the two dead ewes at the side of the road and a lamb hovering between them," Mr Skelley said.
"It was an April-born lamb. Its poor little front legs were broken and I had to take it back to the farm and have it put down.
"I just couldn't believe it – three in one go.
"I looked about to see if there was any debris from the vehicle, any plastic or bumpers, but there was nothing.
"I think the ewes had been moved onto the side of the road after the collision.
"Whoever hit the ewes knew what they'd done – they were killed outright. They didn't even report it to police. They just left the lamb suffering in pain for hours."
Mr Skelley, a third generation moorland farmer, said the incident had left him around £300 out of pocket – but that the cost to him was not just financial.
"That's three sheep I won't be able to breed from," he said. "Moorland sheep are a special kind of sheep that live on the moors. You can't replace them with any other kind of sheep because they won't survive.
"It's getting so that it just isn't viable to keep sheep in this area anymore."
The latest deaths were just 100 yards away from where he lost sheep last December.
"Police said they stopped a lot of local people last time, who know the speeds," Mr Skelley added. "There were mums with kids in the car and even a doctor. They are educated people who should know not to speed.
"I know there's people who would be just as upset as me if they killed sheep but there's also those who don't give a damn and just drive on."
Acting Sergeant Ryan Canning, Wildlife Crime Officer for the area, said: "We did put patrols in the area on a regular basis after the animals were killed last year.
"We stopped an awful lot of cars and gave a lot of warnings. It wasn't a money-making exercise, more educating them about the dangers.
"Many of the speeders were local to the area, travelling the road every day. The moors have been used for raising livestock for hundreds of years.
"The limit of 40 is just that – it's the limit allowed in the absolute best conditions.
"A high percentage of motorists have taken on board our warnings, but others seem to have forgotten them."
Under the 1988 Road Traffic Act, motorists must report to the police accidents involving dogs, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, mules and deer.
Anyone with information about the incident should call police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting police log number 174 of September 14.