Horrific scene greets Suffolk farmer

FURIOUS farmer Robin Richards was today battling energy giant EDF after ten per cent of his cows were eletrocuted - the second time he has lost stock this way in just over a year.

FURIOUS farmer Robin Richards was today battling energy giant EDF after ten per cent of his cows were eletrocuted - the second time he has lost stock this way in just over a year.

In May last year a cow was electrocuted after a swan brought down the power cables that cross a field at his farm in Baylham, between Ipswich and Needham Market.

This time seven prize milkers were killed after a flock of geese brought down the same wires.

Mr Richards hit out at EDF, warning that a similar strike could lead to a human death.

He was angry because the company uses a system that sees cables automatically go “live” again after they have been damaged to test for a fault.

In this case, the move caused the detached line to “snake” about, striking the helpless animals where they stood.

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He said: “The electricity cable came down this morning at about 7am. When the power lines have a problem they (EDF) switch them back on again to see if it's really a problem.

“But when you have a cable on the ground it snakes around electrocuting things - you have to be careful because a person is going to be hurt next time.

“They just automatically put it back on which kills things. It seems a bad thing, especially when you have got a herd of cows in the field.”

Mr Richards, 56, has now lost 10pc of the 80-strong dairy herd at the farm and the deaths will cost him thousands of pounds.

He added: “It happened before and it will happen again - and it could be a person. The cows have been reared here. You can't just go and buy them - these are all home-bred and I wouldn't really want to replace them unless I had to.”

A spokesman for EDF energy confirmed that a farmer from Baylham had been in touch to inform them of a “regrettable incident” involving the “unfortunate” death of some of his livestock.

Hundreds of properties were left without electricity after the incident .

More than 630 EDF customers in and around Badley, Combs, Great Bricett and Ringshall lost power at 7.31am and all but five had their electricity restored by lunchtime.

A further 118 customers experienced a power cut in and around Lions Barn Industrial Estate in Needham Market at 7.17am and power was restored at just after 10am.