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.
Scott 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 9 ewes inside.
“Michael quickly made sure the driver was okay and after establishing they were not seriously injured he turned his attention to the distressed livestock.” a spokesperson for Northumbria Police explained in a statement.
“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.
“Three cows sadly could not be saved but now one of the county’s top officers has praised Michael for his swift response.”
‘Releasing all animals was not an option’
Chief inspector, Neil Hall, 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.”
“He finished his tour of duty covered in mud and smelling of livestock but he did an amazing job and deserves immense credit for going above and beyond.
“Michael volunteers his own time to support operational police and he is a huge credit to this police force and to communities across Northumberland.”
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.
‘I was sat in the bath at about 4.30am’
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.”
“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.”
“I was filthy at the end of it and I was sat in the bath at about 4.30am trying to clean all of the animal waste out of my hair!” he concluded.
Image source: Northumbria Police