ANIMAL owners in the New Forest are celebrating a sharp reduction in the number of accidents involving their stock.

New figures show that the accident rate in the first three months of this year was almost half that recorded during the same period in 2013.

A total of 15 animals were killed or injured, compared with 27 in the first quarter of last year.

People attending the monthly Court of Verderers in Lyndhurst yesterday were told that eight accidents occurred last month – four less than in March last year.

But collisions are continuing to occur at regular intervals.