A horse trader in the north of England has been rebuked by trading standards after more than 30 complaints were made against her.

A civil enforcement order has been served to Sarah Jane Harrison — also known as Sarah Jane Clarke — following an “extensive investigation”.

Harrison, of Harlthorpe Lodge, Dead Lane, Harlthorpe and previously resident at Highfield Stables, Bursea Lane, Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, was operating as a horse trader in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Trading Standards said that many complainants had bought horses from Harrison described as “good natured and suitable for novice riders”, but who turned out to be “dangerous”.

During sales negotiations, Harrison told customers that the horses were sold with a 28-day “no quibble” money-back guarantee. But according to customers, their cheques bounced or they were met with aggressive behaviour from Harrison.

On 21 August at Hull County Court, she was ordered to trade fairly and to pay costs of nearly £3,000. If she disobeys the order, Harrison could be held in contempt of court and may be imprisoned or fined.

“The business practices of this trader put her customers at risk of serious injury and her general business practices are completely unacceptable,” said Councillor Jackie Cracknell. “The successful civil action brought by the council’s trading standards shows that we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour in the East Riding of Yorkshire.”

Victims have come together on Facebook to air their views. Pennie Skitt went through small claims court and was eventually paid back £1,500.

“When I viewed the one I bought, she was what I was looking for, but three days after she was delivered, there was a change — she kicked out at cars, barged through the stable door and tried to bolt when I mounted,” she wrote.

“She [Ms Harrison] accused me of lying and made excuses to come and collect the horse and refund the money. In the end, I hired a lorry and took her back myself. It took me another year to get my money back.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (19 September 2013).