A former Greater Manchester Police horse has been put to sleep aged 20 last week.

Barkis, who served with the force for 13 years, was euthanased to breathing problems.

He retired to the Horse Trust in Buckinghamshire in May 2008 due to arthritis in his forelegs.

“I’m totally gutted that he’s gone. I was very attached to him and will miss him terribly,” said Claire Clark, Barkis’s groom at The Horse Trust.

“He was a lovely horse and was quite cheeky. He was one of those horses that people were drawn to. The staff, volunteers and visitors are all going to miss him as he was such a character.”

The 16.3hh grey gelding, was involved in high-profile police work for the Greater Manchester Police, such as patrolling crime hotspots and crowd control at football matches.

Barkis was known as a “stone-waller” by the police, meaning he was exceptionally brave.

As well as arthritis, Barkis suffered from a chronic respiratory problem.

“Barkis’s breathing had been really bad recently — he was on a lot of medication for it, but was still struggling. It got to the stage where there were no more treatment options available and he was obviously suffering, so we made the sad decision put him to sleep,” said Claire.