Everyone knows policemen get younger every year, but perhaps not as young as Clayhidon’s own pint-sized village speed cop, Ryland Higgins. Viewed from the wheel of a speeding car, Ryland and his radar detector might just be mistaken for the real thing for a second or two, before drivers realise he is an 11-year-old with a toy.
He and his mum Lynda, landlady of the Half Moon Inn, will try anything to persuade drivers to slow down while passing through the hilltop centre of the parish.
The road runs between the pub, the car park and its beer garden, with its stunning view across the Culm Valley and the Blackdown Hills. Although the lane is barely wider than a modern tractor, the official speed limit is 60mph.
“At this time of year we are plagued by these huge farm contractors’ vehicles roaring past our front door,” said Lynda. “They are probably not doing much more than 30mph, but given the size of them and the narrowness of the lane even that is too fast.
“I realise they are under pressure to get the crop in safely and quickly, but children are living in the village and people are going in and out of the church, and I don’t think the drivers realise how alarming these big vehicles are. Surely they could slow down for a few seconds while they pass through the village.”
Lynda and husband Dorian have promised to reward the farm drivers with a free pint if they come in after work and discuss it. “We don’t want to be unfriendly. They are doing an important job and it must be thirsty work,” she said.
Ryland, a pupil at Churchstanton Primary School, said: “My radar detector is a fake – but I don’t need a real one to know people are going too fast. Please slow down.”
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