A MAN has been banned from driving after a crash that killed a New Forest pony and injured a child.

Oliver Heywood, 25, of Woodgreen Common Road, Ringwood, was driving along Roger Penny Way on August 7 last year when his car hit the pony, which died at the scene.

Police say Heywood and a "small infant" in the rear seat suffered minor injuries.

Appearing before Southampton magistrates after being summonsed for driving without due care, Heywood was disqualified from driving for six months, handed a £1,600 fine, and ordered to pay court costs and a victim services surcharge.

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PC Dan Channer, the officer in the case, said: "This incident shows the devastating effects of travelling at inappropriate speeds on our Forest roads.

"Whilst an animal has lost its life, the consequences could have been graver – there could have been a loss of human life too.

"The gravity of the fine handed down by the judge, coinciding with a driving ban, sends out a strong message.

"Drivers who see Forest animals must be mindful, react and slow down to give [them] plenty of time and space.

"They do not have road sense and the Highway Code gives them implicit right of way. It is our duty as road users to afford them safe passage by driving carefully and considerately when in the Forest.

"Speed limits are put in place for a reason – and it is exactly that, a limit – not a target.

"Ponies, horses and other animals cross Forest roads day and night and it's well signposted in high-risk areas."

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Roger Penny Way is one of the worst roads in the Forest for animal accidents.

Campaigners are calling for average speed cameras to be installed on the route following an accident in 2020 in which four ponies were killed.

The driver was complying with the 40mph speed limit and no police action was taken against him.

But speed checks carried out in the wake of the crash showed many motorists were flouting the restriction.

The crash happened on the Bramshaw section of Roger Penny Way, one of the busiest roads in the north of the Forest.

An online petition calling for average speed cameras gathered more than 3,500 signatures.

The road has been dubbed "infamous" by the Commoners’ Defence Association, which represents the owners of the Forest's free-roaming animals.