PEOPLE watched in horror as a family of nine ducks was mowed down by a driver at a notorious accident black spot.

Cars had slowed right down to watch the mother and her eight ducklings cross the road and allow them to pass, but the charming scene turned into a horror show when a speeding Mercedes driver ran straight over the happy family.

Alison Sweeney, 28 from Sylvan Way, Chigwell was driving back from the shops along Pudding Lane when she saw the ducks crossing the road.

She said: "Everyone had slowed down to let them pass. They were walking in a line and waddling across the road and it was lovely to watch.

"Then I saw this car coming at about 40mph, and he actually sped up to over 60mph as he came nearer to the ducks, using it like it was some sort of race track. I thought you're not going to do it, but as he got closer it was obvious he had no intention of stopping and drove straight over the top of them. It was horrendous."

Miss Sweeney's partner moved the dead animals to the side of the road, but she said everyone was traumatised by the scene.

She added: "It was sickening for my family and the other cars behind me to witness such animal cruelty alongside dangerous and careless driving. The image of such a horrendous unnecessary act will remain with me forever.

"Why drivers insist on using this road as a speed track is beyond me but until something is done it will continue to be a known death trap for humans and nature."

Campaigners have been calling for the national speed limit of 60mph to be reduced after motorists have lost control along the winding roads resulting in numerous crashes over the years, including a collision in November 2007 where Loughton resident Derrick Russell, 60 died.

Lynne Evans from Pudding Lane has been campaigning for something to be done.

She said: "We knew those little ducks, and that's such a shame they have been killed. It's been so bad over the weekend with people speeding, I'm not surprised something has happened."

Her husband Colin said: "I'm outraged by it but unfortunately that is typical of the type of driver who uses that road. They know it so well and know when to accelerate.

"We have all been campaigning for years for something to be done, so unfortunately this doesn't surprise me. But to hear that a family of ducks has been slaughtered like that, it really makes your blood boil."

A spokesman for Essex County Council said safety measures will be introduced within the current financial year.

He added: "Pudding Lane is a rural lane which has become used as a shortcut for motorists travelling between Chigwell and Loughton leading to an increase in traffic and accidents recently.

"To counter this Essex County Council will shortly be introducing a number of safety measures including a 30mph speed limit and a priority working system at both ends of the road to improve safety, reduce accidents and encourage motorists to use more suitable roads for their journeys."