Eight cows killed at Castlemartin Army firing range

Sign at Castlemartin Range, PembrokeshireImage source, Wales News Service
Image caption,
Parts of the range are leased to a farmer

Eight cows have been killed after wandering into the line of fire at an Army training range.

Defence officials confirmed the animals had died at the Castlemartin Range in Pembrokeshire.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the range had been checked for livestock before the exercise had started, but the cows then entered the area.

The Defence Accident Investigation Branch has been informed and a serious incident report is being prepared.

"Much of Castlemartin Training Area is grazed by cows and sheep," said an MoD official on Friday.

"On 10th July some cattle moved in to the firing area after it was confirmed to be clear, but before firing started.

"They could not be seen by the unit training and unfortunately a number of cows were shot and killed or injured.

"Their presence was noticed by the Range Conducting Officer who immediately halted the exercise."

Image caption,
The Castlemartin Range is one of a dozen Army training estates in the UK

Officials said in addition to the eight cattle killed, another four were injured.

The MoD said part of the range land "like many MoD training areas" is leased to a tenant farmer.

"The farmer has been informed and made aware of his rights," added a spokesman.

It the latest in a number of incidents at the range.

In 2017, two soldiers died in a tank explosion at Castlemartin, which a coroner ruled was due to a design flaw.

An Army captain was jailed in July 2018 after a 21-year-old soldier was killed by a stray bullet during an exercise at the range in 2012.

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