ALMOST 50 drivers have been caught speeding in one of the worst parts of the New Forest for animal accidents.

Police have revealed the outcome of the latest speed checks carried out in the Roger Penny Way area, scene of a collision in which four ponies were killed.

Accidents involving free-roaming animals tend to increase at this time of year, when the evenings are darker.

A police spokesperson said: "New Forest Heart Cops launched a campaign alongside our partner agencies in an attempt to address the issue of speeding and animal deaths.

"Our first focus was Roger Penny Way and the surrounding area.

"We used specialist officers with handheld speed devices and the Hampshire Constabulary camera van to deal with excessive speeders - 47 drivers have been reported."

Police joined forced with representatives from other organisations including Forestry England, New Forest Roads Awareness, the National Park Authority, and New Forest District Council.

The police spokesperson added: "We worked together to engage and educate all the drivers who were stopped.

"It is so important to understand why the speed limits are in force across the Forest and the educational work carried out by our partners is both essential and life-saving.

"We would like to thank all of those drivers who we didn’t have to stop and talk to because they were sticking to the speed limit.

"On a separate note one van we stopped was searched and contained various scrap metal we suspect were about to be fly-tipped."

Several animals were killed in a spate of accidents at Roger Penny Way at the end of last year.

Four ponies owned by the same commoner died after being hit by a vehicle on New Year's Eve. The driver was complying with the speed limit and police took no action against him.

But speed checks carried out in the past few months have shown that many motorists are flouting the limit.

As reported in the Daily Echo, campaigners are calling for average speed cameras to be installed on the route.