AN unfortunate straying sheep, which died in a high speed collision, has cost a Hermon farmer nearly £2,000.

Paul Anthony Vizza, of Glogue, failed to appear at Haverfordwest magistrates court on Monday, July 30, but the bench found the 56-year-old guilty of allowing an animal to stray on a highway after a trial was held in his absence.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, told the court that Sam De Ath was driving along the Crymych to Hermon road with his brother at 7.40am on February 16, when a sheep leapt from a hedge into the path of his van.

In a statement read to the court, Mr De Ath said: “I started to take evasive action, but there was an oncoming vehicle.

“It was inevitable that I would collide with it.”

The impact of the sheep caused more than £250 of damage to the vehicle, which was travelling at 50-60mph, and the animal suffered fatal injuries in the collision.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones said: “Unfortunately the sheep had been obliterated during the impact, there were bits of it all up the road. It was a mess.”

Mr De Ath went to Vizza’s nearby farm in an attempt to locate the animal’s owner. He denied it was his as he joined them at the scene, but put the carcass into his car as he did not want to leave it ‘sprawled on the road’.

He later told police he had immediately taken it to the local hunt kennels for disposal, and had not noticed whether it had an ear-tag.

Vizza said he owned the land but claimed he had not had any sheep on the field for some time, and was adamant that the animal did not belong to him.

Tags were handed to police when they called at the kennels, and their numbers revealed that Vizza had bought the sheep at an Aberystwyth auction in September.

The sheep’s remains were described as no more than a head, some bone and some wool following the accident.

Magistrates found him guilty and fined him £1,000. The court heard that Vizza had been convicted of the same offence earlier in the year.

Vizza was also ordered to pay £620 prosecution costs, a £100 surcharge and £260.66 compensation.