Eleven horses have been seized by police from council land in the Staffordshire town of Tunstall in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The horses, believed to be owned by the local travelling community, have been roaming the Tunstall area for years, causing damage to the property of local residents. More than 400 incidents involving the horses have been reported since January 2007.

Twenty police officers together with representatives of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and a vet seized the horses on Wednesday (9 April) and have been taken into the care of the RSPCA.

The horses were roaming across fields next to Reginald Mitchell Way and Lowlands Road.

Inspector Nigel Warrilow, Northern Neighbourhood Policing Unit Commander said: “There are around 15 horses and we believe they are from the travelling fraternity in Tunstall but nobody wants to admit to owning them.”

A council spokesman said: “We have spent months trying to get the owners of the horses to remove them. Unfortunately, this did not happen and we had to take the animals away from our land.”

The council owned land is earmarked for a business development project.

RSPCA inspectors said the horses were in good condition.