THE main road on and off Canvey was closed for an hour after cattle escaped throughahole cut in a fence by vandals.

Police were called to close off Canvey Way at about 10.15pm on Tuesday night, after 23 cows and a bull were reported on the road.

Motorists were diverted via Canvey Road and Ferry Road, while officers tried to round up the livestock.

Farmer John Frost, 67, of Reeds Hill Farm, off Essex Way, said vandals had cut a hole in a fence, allowing the animals to escape.

He said: “Some kind people decided to deliberately cut a hole in my new fence.

It all happened very late. I was out at about 11.30pm trying to round them up.

I’m 67 years old and would rather be in my bed at that time.

“I’d like to thank the police, as they helped me out. They had to block the road, while, together, we guided the animals back.”

Mr Frost said the incident could have had serious consequences as it happened just before the street lights switched off at midnight.

He added: “All the lights go out in CanveyWay around that time.

“It could have been very dangerous for the animals, as well as motorists driving at the time, as you can’t see anything.”

The road remained shut until about 11.15pm as the cows were herded off the road.

Motorist Joe Ludlow, 19, was one of the drivers held up by the road closure.

He said: “Cars were flashing me before I got to where it was happening, to warn people driving down there something was happening. I wasn’t expecting to see cows running in herds down the road, though. There were a couple of cars on the side of the road as I got closer to it.

“I then joined the back of a small queue and could see a few cows standing at the front of the queue.

“The police were trying to move them. The cows would run away when the police got near them. They managed to herd them on to the roundabout so the cars could get past.”

Police were called to a similar incident in Northwick Road, Canvey last August, when a bull escaped from a field off Roscommon Way and Haven Road.

At the time, the owner said vandals had driven quad bikes on to his land and freed the bull.