A farm worker has been convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving after failing to secure a load of straw bales which fell on to a cyclist causing him permanent brain damage, according to authorities in the UK.

The incident occurred near Exeter, in England, according to Devon and Cornwall Police.

Matthew Shapcott, aged 39, from Silverton, was convicted on Tuesday, January 12, after entering a guilty plea at Exeter Crown Court.

He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 140 hours of unpaid work.

On August 2, 2019, Shapcott loaded a trailer with the huge straw bales and failed to secure them to the trailer, despite having ratchet straps in the vehicle.

While driving along a road in Netherexe, near Exeter, one of the bales fell from the trailer striking a passing male cyclist who suffered significant, life changing injuries as a result.

The 69-year-old man suffered a bleed on the brain and was in a coma for 13 days. He sustained numerous other injuries including two fractures to his spine. He will never recover from the brain damage which has caused partial blindness.

Motor Patrol Constable Hamilton-Schaschke, said: “This devastating incident was all entirely avoidable if Shapcott had simply secured the load.

“The victim’s quality of life and independence has been severely impaired.

Shapcott’s lax attitude to what was a simple but essential safety measure has had a catastrophic impact upon the victim who has been robbed of what should have been a relaxing retirement.

“This incident should serve as a reminder to motorists to ensure they secure their loads, whatever it is they are transporting, wherever they are going, when travelling on public roads, so tragedies such as this are avoided.”