A MAN has been banned from driving after he hit and killed a young pony in the New Forest.

Ben Hanlan was driving a VW Polo when he struck a foal near Beaulieu Road in August last year.

He then fled the scene without reporting the incident to local agisters or to the police.

Yorkshire Magistrates’ Court heard how the 22-year-old from Leeds believed that he had hit a deer at the time of the collision, but did not stop to determine these facts, nor to inspect whether he had seriously injured or caused the death of an animal.

The injured pony was located by a local Agister the following day, having suffered two broken front legs as a result of the accident.

It is then thought the pony continued to wander for several hours on the stumps of her bones before succumbing to her injuries.

The pony was humanely killed.

Hanlan pleaded guilty to failing to report the accident, which happened between midnight on August 27 and 3.30am on Saturday August 28.

He was disqualified from driving for six months and ordered to pay £85 court costs, and a £95 victim surcharge.

Salisbury Journal:

PC Matt Thelwell, Wildlife and Rural Crime Officer, said: “Sadly, this is an incident which was wholly avoidable, but resulted in a foal having to be euthanised due to the severity of its injuries. The driver is lucky that in this situation, he did not suffer serious injuries himself, or worse, but that could have been a real possibility in a different scenario.

“Driving above the speed limit, especially during hours of darkness, can have devastating consequences.

"Sadly, there have been a number of high-profile animal deaths on New Forest roads over the last 18 months; but these needn’t have happened if motorists been travelling within the speed limit or driving appropriately for the conditions.

“This conviction hopefully sends out a stark message about the importance of driving safely, and within the law, across New Forest roads, but also that no one is above the law.

"Failure to report a road traffic incident or accident is a criminal offence, and this shows, that we will always seek to identify those responsible and put them in front of the courts so that justice can be served.

“We will continue to work with key partners including New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry England and Commoners Defence Association to raise awareness of animals killed by collisions in the New Forest area and improve safety."


Get more Forest Journal news.

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

Email newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.