COMMONERS who clubbed together to buy warning signs after a spate of animal deaths along a stretch of forest road are scratching their heads after the signs were removed.

Last summer animal accident rates in the village of Linwood soared, with four animals hit during daylight, all by westbound traffic.

Three were killed outright or had to be destroyed by the Agisters – a pony, a belted Galloway cow and a fallow deer. The deer was severed in two in front of the Red Shoot pub, watched by distraught lunchtime customers.

In other incidents a heifer suffered a broken leg and a pony had her belly ripped open, but they survived after extensive and costly treatment.

Linwood resident Richard Deacon said: “Thankfully, all five accidents were reported promptly, however they outnumber the total for the previous ten years for this short stretch of forest road.

“In desperation, local commoners resorted to the erection of Transport Department-compliant, non-reflective signage on private land, but in full view of traffic at Moyles Court and at the Red Shoot.

“In the 23 weeks they were up, we had a 100 per cent accident free period.”

But on Friday the £94 signs, one at either end of the stretch, were torn down and removed.

Mr Deacon added: “Albeit unofficial, appropriate signage is the best and only available means of alerting drivers to the immediate risks of road accidents involving animals at this location.

Mr Deacon has two more signs, but is now waiting for a response from official bodies to say he can reinstate them.