The owner of Spindles Farm, Jamie Gray, is due to appear in Aylesbury Magistrates Court on Monday, 4 February, charged with assaulting a police constable and causing criminal damage.

Gray was arrested during the rescue of the 14 initial horses from his farm during the weekend of 5-6 January. A further 97 were removed later.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said the organisation was “still working on a prosecution case” but could not comment on if and when further charges might be brought.

Buckinghamshire Police have quashed reports in the local press that Gray is under police protection, but a spokesman said: “We do have a response plan in place in case there are any threats.”

Meanwhile the rescue centres that are currently caring for the Spindles Farm horses have been overwhelmed by the generous donations they have received, particularly through Operation Esther, which was set up by H&H forum members.

Nicola Markwell, a spokesman for Redwings, told H&H: “We are absolutely thrilled. We’re still taking an inventory but we received five vehicle loads of goods on Saturday, all of which we can put to good use. The Operation Esther team have done a cracking job.”

The ILPH estimates it has received about 2,000 donated items from the Operation Esther convoy that arrived at their centre in Snetterton, Norfolk last weekend.

ILPH spokesman Phil Spiby said: “The day went really well. We’re very pleased. To have received approximately 2,000 items is very impressive. It is an amazing effort by H&H readers.”

The ILPH hopes to hold a sale of any donations it is unable to use over the weekend of 9-10 February at its Norfolk headquarters, to raise further funds for the cause.

Another Operation Esther convoy, this time from Wales, descended on The Horse Trust in Speen, Buckinghamshire, with enough donated goods to fill seven stables, plus a cheque for £1,000.

Leanne Crowther, spokesman for The Horse Trust, told H&H: “We must say a massive thank you to everyone — what we’ve received really will make a big difference.”

Operation Esther in Scotland is still underway with collection points filling up with donated goods and a delivery is due to be made in the next couple of weeks.

Horse & Hound donated a year’s subscription to the cause, which was auctioned on ebay and raised £112.50 for the charities involved.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (31 January, ’08)