A Melton man who helped shepherd a group of horses away from the A46 after they had been released from the town’s Defence Animal Centre says he prevented a situation of ‘absolute carnage’.
Adam Johnson, wife Katie and their three children were returning home after a seven-hour drive from their holiday in Cornwall when they spotted the horses on the road at Asfordby Valley on Friday night, about 11.20pm.
They were some of the 21 horses which police say were released from a field at the military base around that time that night.
Mr Johnson said he reversed as the animals galloped towards them but a couple hit the side of the vehicle as they went past, damaging his front wing.
He said they then spotted three people on motorcycles, revving their engines and sounding their horns as they rode three-abreast behind the horses.
He decided to do what he could to prevent the animals going any further because of the danger they presented to other motorists, following them along Asforby bypass in the direction of the dangerous Shoby bends and shouting at the motorcyclists through the car window to back off because they were frightening the horses.
“The horses were clearly scared and were running at pace,” said Mr Johnson, who said his seven-year-old son was sick in the car because he was distressed by the incident.
“I was concerned as we approached the Shoby bends in case any cars came around there at speed so I put my hazard lights on to warn people.”
Mr Johnson said he managed to get in front of a group of about eight to 10 of the horses as they approached the right turn off the A6006 onto the A46. He sounded the horn to warn the animals away from going on the dual carriageway before a police van arrived to deal with the situation.
“I got increasingly worried as the horses got nearer the A46 because if they had got on there it could have been absolute carnage,” he said.
“I’m not sure how injured the horses were but we saw one bleeding from its hooves and another had blood on its chest.”
The family were astounded to come across the animals in the first place as they wearily returned from their holiday.
Mr Johnson, who also had his 15-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son in the car, said: “The lighting is poor in Asfordby Valley and at first we thought it was a group of people running across the road and then we thought it was a herd of cows.
“As we drove through Asfordby behind the horses people were stood out on the street.
“People from multiple houses had come out the front of their homes to see what was going on and there were people outside the pub and the Co-op.
“It wasn’t what we were expecting when we got back from our holiday and we all struggled sleeping that night to be honest.”
The Defence Animal Centre, which trains horses and dogs for the military, said this week that police were investigating the incident but they would be making no further comment at this stage.
A spokesperson for Leicestershire Police said: “Twenty-one horses were released from a field on Welby Lane at 11.15pm.
“All the horses were located and returned to stables by 2.30am. “The horses are currently being assessed to establish if any have sustained injuries, but at this stage none are believed to be seriously injured.
“Some of the horses were involved in minor collisions but no-one from the vehicles have reported being injured.
“We understand the shock and anger the incident may have caused but we ask that people don’t speculate on social media and if they have any information about the incident they are asked to contact the police on 101, quoting incident number 846 of 4 August. “We’d also like to thank everyone who assisted officers in locating and securing the horses.”