The Allen Valleys is one of the few areas that boasts a healthy population of red squirrels – but residents fear they could soon become extinct because of speeding motorists.

A community campaign has seen residents and businesses back a bid for greater road safety measures after an increase in the deaths of squirrels and hedgehogs on roads around Allenheads.

Regular appearances of the rare rodent in Bill Jackson’s garden were often the highlight of his day, but he fears they will soon be wiped out if motorists don’t slow down.

“Motorists are driving along the 30mph road at over 50mph – a squirrel has got no chance of surviving,” he said.

“We had six that would come to our garden but that’s now down to four because two have recently been ran over.”

Large road signs have been erected, warning motorists to look out for the squirrels, but residents say the message has been in vain.

Bill added: “Next to no traffic goes through here, but when there is it’s like a race. Motorists are going to wipe them out if they keep on going.

“I cannot believe the rarity of the red squirrel, and we’re lucky to have them, but they’re diminishing rapidly.”

The Allen Valleys Red Squirrels Facebook group has attracted the attention of hundreds of locals, who aim to maintain the squirrels for years to come.

Janine Swindale was one of hundreds of locals who backed a petition and campaign to protect the squirrel population earlier this year, but said talks to install a radar speed sign in the village had hit a stalemate.

She said: “We’re just trying to get people to be more aware that there is a speed limit and to be more vigilant about it.”

“We’ve had around seven squirrels knocked over on one road in the last few weeks.

“People are taking no notice of the red squirrel signs and the fact that they could be crossing the road.

“Everyone should be looking out for the wildlife.”