COUNCIL workers have been hailed as heroes for preventing a potentially fatal accident by rounding up escaped cattle into the front garden of a house in Darlington.

But the woman who lives in the house where the animals were gathered outside has demanded compensation and her front garden be cleaned up after it was left ruined.

A dozen cattle escaped from a field and were loose along Coniscliffe Road just after 9am on Monday morning when they were spotted by two council officers.

The officers are understood to have rounded up the cattle and secured them in the first house they could find which had a gate, so they couldn’t escape.

But the woman who lives in the house in question was far from impressed to return home to find her garden filled with cattle.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, the woman, who does not wish to be named, said: “I want the place cleaned up and I want compensation - my garden has been ruined and all my plants have gone."

The Northern Echo understands the gate had been damaged in the early hours of the morning, which enabled the cattle to escape.

Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure, local environment and transport said:  “Our road sweeper and his colleagues came across the loose cattle on Coniscliffe Road this morning and with safety in mind, quickly herded the cows into the nearest secure gated garden, out of the way of traffic.

Without their quick thinking who knows what could have happened - Coniscliffe Road is a very busy road and thanks to them no one was injured.

“The owner of the property where the cows were herded to, who wishes to remain anonymous, was out at the time, however, a member of staff from our street scene team has visited this afternoon and we have arranged to clear the debris, tidy the garden, plant bulbs and sow grass seeds where needed.  

“All in all a great job done by our quick thinking Street Scene staff – we think they all deserve a pat on the back."

A spokesperson for Durham Police said: “We received a call just before 9.30am on Monday morning to say that around a dozen cattle had escaped from a field and were loose in Coniscliffe Road in Darlington causing a potential hazard to traffic.

“The animals were rounded up by council staff within around 15 minutes.”