A man has died after a light aircraft crashed into a field near St Neots following a mid-air collision.

The pilot, named as Steve Spavins, 46, of Surfleet near Spalding, Lincolnshire, died after his Kitfox microlight collided with a Cessna aeroplane about 3,000ft above Rectory Farm, Barford Road, Little Barford, at about 8.30am yesterday (Tuesday).

The microlight, thought to be flying to Sandy, crashed into a field about halfway between Little Barford and Tempsford - about a mile away from where the aircraft collided and between the East Coast mainline and the Black Cat roundabout.

The other plane, believed to be on its way to Sywell in Northamptonshire, was still able to fly and landed at Thurleigh Airfield.

Members of Mr Spavins' family attended the scene of the crash in the late afternoon.

Geoff Soden, who has known Mr Spavins, a funeral director in Sandy, for about 15 years, said: "He was an all-round good egg.

"He was a good father, a good friend and an excellent pilot. He was well-known in the microlight community."

Police inspector Adrian Coton said: "We have had one fatality. We have debris strewn over an area from the train line across the field to where the aircraft came down.

"It's always difficult whenever anyone loses a loved one in any circumstance - they have to pull together as a family unit and try to live with the grief."

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said the Air Accident Investigation Board had been ­notified.

An ambulance service ­spokesman said: "We were called just after 8.30am to reports of a light aircraft which had come down in fields near the A1 south of St Neots.

"An ambulance and paramedic officer were dispatched.

"We also attended Thurleigh Airfield where we checked over the other pilot but they were not injured."