A farming couple are counting the cost of the increasing number of animals they are losing to speeding vehicles travelling along a stretch of unfenced road.
A total of 15 sheep belonging to David and Jillian Hewitt, of Bank Head, Crosby Ravensworth, have been killed by cars and lorries crossing Orton Scar over the past two months, despite fewer vehicles using the route during lockdown.
Two sheep were lost on Friday and Mrs Hewitt believes one was killed by a lorry as it was “trailed” 20 metres down the road which cuts through common land.
The couple run a 1,000-acre beef and sheep farm and in recent years have also had 10 cows killed by motorists. One was hit and injured on Monday.
“We had one suffer a broken leg and my husband had to go looking for it in the fog and was forced to shoot it himself,” said Mrs Hewitt.
“They (motorists) don’t tell anybody that they have hit anything. They just drive off.
“We have not claimed on these sheep because it puts our premiums up, but with cattle, the cars are usually a write-off and we can claim from their insurance.”
Mrs Hewitt said the sheep on the common are hefted and are worth £300 each with lambs valued at £100 apiece.
“We have fought on lambing them all this time and people just come along and destroy them with their vehicles,” said Mrs Hewitt.
She said that there was currently a 60mph limit on the road which she would like to see reduced to 40mph, with average speed cameras erected to remind motorists of the lower limit. Another solution would be to fence the highway, but at a recent stewardship meeting this was blocked by the Secretary of State.
There are a number of “flashing signs” warning of livestock on the road and Mrs Hewitt believes that if they put their own signs up then they would eventually be ignored.
“It’s not just the animals that we are thinking about, somebody could get killed,” said Mrs Hewitt.