REWARDS worth £9,000 have been handed to witnesses who help secure the convictions of two hit-and-run drivers who left animals to die on New Forest roads.
The cash, which has been paid from a reward scheme administered by the verderers in partnership with the Commoners Defence Association and New Forest Pony and Cattle Breeding Society, is offered to witnesses who give information leading to the conviction of hit-and-run drivers.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the Verderers Court, official verderer Lord Manners revealed that a van driver who failed to stop after fatally injuring a pony at a notorious accident blackspot had been banned from driving for six months.
Nilesh Sorathia, was convicted of failing to stop after the collision on Roger Penny Way in June 2019. The mare he hit was so badly injured that she had to be put down by the agister who attended.
Describing the hit-and-run as “an appalling act of cruelty” Lord Manners said Sorathia was also fined £1,000 for the offence and ordered to pay costs of £410.
He continued: “This conviction was made possible by information provided by another motorist.”
Under the terms of the witness scheme, rewards of up to £5,000 are offered for information leading to the successful conviction of drivers who leave animals to die on the roads.
Lord Manners said: “In this instance, we will be paying the full amount of £5,000 to the witness who wishes to remain anonymous who provided the information that led to the conviction of the driver responsible.”
In February a reward of £4,000 was paid to the witness of another hit-and-run accident involving a commoner’s animal.
Lord Manners added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Commoners Defence Association and the Pony Society, as this scheme would not be possible without their support.”