by Thom Morris
It was a surreal sight for residents in Singleton this morning when they awoke to find a herd of horses standing in their front gardens.
Police were called to Imperial Way shortly before 8am to reports that about a dozen horses had escaped from a nearby field.
A police car chased the equine menace down the road before many of the animals, including ponies, decided to stop for breakfast by grazing in residents' front gardens.
Imperial Way resident Zoe Hall said: "It was about 7.45am and I looked out of the window and could see all these horses in people's gardens eating the grass and their flowers. They must have been walking for a fair amount of time and everyone was coming out of their houses to have a look. There were a couple of men shooing them but the horses ended up just walking around the block."
She added: "The horses belong to the people up at Chilmington and it happened a few weeks ago just before Christmas. My husband was going to work at about 3.30am and they were all on the roundabout and he had to wait for them to cross before he could carry on."
The road down to Singleton Hill had to be blocked by police cars to ensure the animals did not travel any further and parents driving their children to school were left facing a traffic night-mare as the horses casually wandered the streets.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said: "I'd been out walking my dog earlier that morning and there was a man walking up on the field with a set of bolt croppers. He said he was checking on the horses. Next thing I knew they were all trotting down the road."
By 9am the horses had been returned to their paddock at the top of Singleton Hill.