A horse has died after being found hanging from a cliff face in Suffolk.

The animal, which was hanging by a tether around its neck, was rescued by firefighters on from the cliff near Lowestoft on Friday (1 March) at 7.30pm. It was still breathing when the tether was cut down by an RSPCA officer, but later died.

The horse was unconscious and taken to Redwings Horse Santuary in Norfolk, but died of a collapsed windpipe at the centre.

“This was a totally unnecessary loss of life,” said Redwings vet Nic de Brauwere.

“A matter of a few feet in where the pony was tethered would have meant the difference between life and death. The experience must have caused him untold distress.”

RSPCA officer Nicky Thorne cut the horse loose with a pocket knife when she realised it was still alive. “To lose him after six hours of trying was awful,” she said.

John Tiffen, from Suffolk Fire and Rescue, added: “We had to try and work out how to rescue the horse, which was difficult due to its location in an isolated spot between Lowestoft and Kessingland, further complicated with an incoming tide.”

The animal died as he was arriving at Redwings.