Cumbria

Appleby Horse Fair: Two horses killed while 'racing'

Horses in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Appleby Horse Fair has been running for more than 300 years

Two horses have died after colliding while apparently being raced at the Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria.

The RSPCA said the horses were being ridden and driven at high speed in a bid to show them off to potential buyers on Friday.

One died at the scene and the other had to be killed because of its injuries.

About 40,000 travellers and gypsies are at the six-day event. The RSPCA has appealed for witnesses to the accident to come forward.

RSPCA chief inspector, Rob Melloy, believes those involved fled the scene before inspectors arrived.

'In control'

He said they believed one horse was pulling a sulky - a two-wheeled vehicle - while the other was being ridden.

"The identity of the people involved in the crash is unknown as they had left the scene when RSPCA officers and the vet arrived," he said.

"People must ensure that they are in control when they are riding or driving horses at speed. Failing to do so can easily result in serious injury and even death."

There are 26 RSPCA officers patrolling the fair which has been running for at least 300 years and is one of the largest and oldest in Europe.

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