Planes were stopped from landing at Gloucestershire airport yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, 19 January) after a Shetland pony escaped onto the runway.

The bay pony was spotted at 1.20pm cavorting around the airfield.

“We are the busiest general aviation airport in the country so there were lots of planes flying around,” said the airport’s operations director Darren Lewington.

The escaped pony was “having a fantastic time” galloping about on the 400-acre airfield.

The airport’s fire crew and operations staff were called out to corral the pony and air traffic control staff were forced to delay landings as he got nearer to the runway.

“We eventually managed to coax him through a copse on the boundary where his owners were there to meet him and take him back to the farm,” said Lewington.

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The Shetland crossed a brook to get into the airfield but it is not clear how he managed to get through the perimeter fence.

“Our maintenance team have been out looking at the fence but there are no obvious holes. He was clearly a very adventurous little chap,” added Mr Lewington.

Badgers, foxes and deer have been seen on the airfield, but never before a pony.

“Our normal connection with horses is the Cheltenham Festival when the world and his wife turn up in business jets. It’s the busiest week of the year for us,” Mr Lewington told H&H.

The airport at Staverton is just 3.5 miles from Cheltenham.

It runs services to the Isle of Man, Belfast and Jersey and from end of March passengers will also be able to travel to Newcastle and Glasgow with Citywing via the Isle of Man.