'Community hero' Special Constable saves livestock trapped in overturned lorry

Volunteer Michael Scott in action Credit: Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police say a volunteer is a 'community hero' after he saved livestock trapped in an overturned lorry.

Special constable Michael Scott was on duty in rural Northumberland when police received a report of an overturned vehicle at 10.15pm on August 24.

He attended the scene on the A69 near to the junction with Haltwhistle and found a lorry carrying livestock had fallen onto its side - trapping 30 lambs, 25 cows and nine ewes inside.

I was first at the scene and I have experience with livestock so I knew the first thing I needed to do was open all the air vents on the lorry. The sheep were in a big pile and they had just frozen because they were so scared so initially I just tried to get them moving because if they didn’t then some of them would suffocate.

Special Constable Michael Scott

Michael checked on the driver and then turned his attention to the distressed livestock.

He quickly opened up air vents to allow an airflow into the vehicle before physically moving the animals along their pen to prevent them from crushing one another.

Emergency support arrived on scene and vets, assisted by Northumberland Fire and Rescue, were able to safely release the animals and check their welfare.

Three cows died during the incident but officers say there could have been many more deaths.


This was a fantastic piece of work by Michael and we are all very proud of his efforts. He went above and beyond by climbing on top of the lorry to do anything he could to try to save the livestock until further support could arrive. It was on a busy carriageway in the dead of night and so releasing all the animals was not an option but his actions have certainly prevented many more deaths.

Chief Inspector Neil Hall, Northumbria Police

Special constable Scott volunteers his own time to support operational police and Northumbria Police say "he is a huge credit" to them and to communities across Northumberland.

The animals were distressed and Michael helped calm them down and co-ordinate an emergency response that would see them brought to safety. He finished his tour of duty covered in mud and smelling of livestock but he did an amazing job and deserves immense credit for going above and beyond.

Chief Inspector Neil Hall, Northumbria Police

Michael has volunteered as a Special Constable for 36 years but spends his day looking after livestock, farming land and working on tractors.

He was presented with a Chief Constable’s Commendation last year for his long career at the Force that has seen him tackle a raging bull at a County Show, deliver calves and locate missing people deep in the hills of Northumberland.