POLICE in the New Forest are investigating a spate of hitand- run incidents that have left four animals dead.

One was killed outright but others were left in agony and were not put out of their misery until they were found the following day.

Wreckage found at the scene of each collision is being examined by police in a bid to trace the drivers.

The first hit-and-run incident occurred at Summer Lane, Beaulieu, where a foal suffered a broken back and was left in a ditch.

A few days later a cow had to be destroyed after a collision at nearby Hill Top.

The vehicle, heading west, suffered damage to its nearside headlight.

Another hit-and-run happened in Burley Road, Brockenhurst, where a dead pony was found, while the fourth incident took place on the B3080 at Turf Hill, when a cow had to be put down.

All the pigs, ponies and cattle that roam the Forest are owned by commoners – villagers with the right to let their animals graze the landscape.

The system is run by the Verderers, who offer a £1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of hit-and-run drivers.