Conmen are continuing to target equestrian websites with new scams where supposed buyers from West Africa contact private advertisers by email.

The latest ruses include a man from Benin offering to buy a horsebox and arranging payment through an alleged British-based “client” who owes the prospective purchaser some money. In this case, the seller received a cheque — which turned out to be counterfeit — but she had luckily not parted with her box or any money.

“The danger is that it’s quite believable — people do buy these old lorries for parts. When the cheque is meant to be from Coutts and it arrives by courier, it becomes very plausible,” says Kent-based seller Lesley Novis.

In another case, a man from Togo sent e-mails to a number of advertisers claiming to be looking for an Albion saddle.

Fiona Kinghorn, who received a number of e-mails, says: “I understand that they get you to send the saddle and then the payment fails. The police said it was a well-known scam.”

Other communications ask for help in releasing locked funds from a UK account, a scam also known to the police and believed to be part of a large-scale money laundering fraud.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (21 August), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.