Two cars were badly damaged when they hit a herd of escapee cows on a rural Canterbury road this morning.

Inspector Corrie Parnell said police were called to the scene of the accident of Feredays Rd, Leeston, about 5.45am today.

He said both cars had hit a herd of cows that had escaped from a nearby paddock.

Fortunately neither of the motorists were injured, but their cars were badly damaged, he said.

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Mr Parnell said police were unsure as to how the cows had managed to escape from the paddock, but it was not an issue with fencing.

"I'm not sure of how they actually came to be on the road.

"With the spate of actual stock collisions we have had ... it's just another thing that farmers have to factor in."