A HORSE was shot by armed police after it fell 20ft into an abandoned mine shaft.
The large Clydesdale, weighing approximately 1984lbs, was badly hurt when it plummeted into the tunnel under a field in West Lothian.
Dozens of firefighters and officials raced to the scene but it was deemed too dangerous to rescue the badly-injured horse.
An armed response team from Police Scotland was called in to shoot the stricken animal where it lay.
The body of the Clydesdale has been left in place and cannot even be covered up because the nearby ground is unsafe for heavy machinery.
The extraordinary incident last Friday resulted in the call out of six fire engines and around 24 firefighters as well as health and safety experts, Coal Authority staff and vets.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police firearms officers were called to a farm near Winchburgh after a horse had fallen down a sinkhole and all attempts to rescue it had failed. At the request of the vet in attendance the officers humanely dispatched the horse to prevent further suffering.
“This was undertaken with the full consent of the owner.”