Heroic police volunteer saves farm animals' lives after lorry overturns in Northumberland

A heroic police volunteer climbed on top of an overturned lorry in an effort to save the lives of the trapped farm animals inside.

By Sophie Brownson
Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 3:56 pm

Special constable Michael Scott was on duty in rural Northumberland when police received a report of an overturned vehicle at 10.15pm on Monday night.

He attended the scene on the A69 near to the junction with Haltwhistle and found a lorry carrying livestock had fallen onto its side - trapping 30 lambs, 25 cows and nine ewes inside.

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Special constable Michael Scott climbed on top of an overturned lorry to help the trapped farm animals inside.

Michael, 59, quickly made sure the driver was okay and after establishing they were not seriously injured he turned his attention to the distressed livestock.

He quickly opened up air vents to allow an airflow into the vehicle before physically moving the animals along their pen to prevent them from crushing one another.

Emergency support arrived on scene and vets, assisted by Northumberland Fire and Rescue, were able to safely release the animals and check their welfare.

Michael said: “I was first at the scene and I have experience with livestock so I knew the first thing I needed to do was open all the air vents on the lorry.

Special constable Michael Scott on top of the overturned lorry as he worked to help the trapped farm animals inside.

“The sheep were in a big pile and they had just frozen because they were so scared so initially I just tried to get them moving because if they didn’t then some of them would suffocate.

“I used my truncheon to bang the lorry and startle them into moving which seemed to work and then I did the same with the cattle.

“It was a long and lengthy recovery that lasted a few hours but it was a real team effort between ourselves, the Fire Service and the local vets.”

Three cows sadly could not be saved but now one of the county’s top officers has praised Michael for his swift response.

Special constable Michael Scott has been praised by Northumbria Police for his heroic efforts.

Michael has volunteered as a Special Constable for 36 years but spends his day looking after livestock, farming land and working on tractors.

He was presented with a Chief Constable’s Commendation last year for his long career at the Force that has seen him tackle a raging bull at a County Show, deliver calves and locate missing people deep in the hills of Northumberland.

Chief Inspector Neil Hall, of Northumbria Police, said: “This was a fantastic piece of work by Michael and we are all very proud of his efforts.

“He went above and beyond by climbing on top of the lorry to do anything he could to try to save the livestock until further support could arrive.

“It was on a busy carriageway in the dead of night and so releasing all the animals was not an option but his actions have certainly prevented many more deaths.

“The animals were distressed and Michael helped calm them down and co-ordinate an emergency response that would see them brought to safety.

“Michael volunteers his own time to support operational police and he is a huge credit to this police force and to communities across Northumberland.”

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