A new scheme to combat crime has been met with mixed reactions from horse owners.

The National Equestrian Crime Database (NECD) was launched last month with the backing of insurance company AmTrust, the British Horse Society (BHS) and the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

It promises a tracking service for stolen goods and costs £35 to register.

Horses and property must be microchipped or identified by a postcode, chassis number or freeze-mark and, if an item is stolen, NECD users must fill in an online form.

This will trigger alerts to police and insurance companies and uploads a news flash on the NECD website.

Items registered as stolen over the past few months have already been loaded.

NECD spokesman Caroline Finch told H&H: “We get daily feeds from six constabularies and about eight Horsewatch groups, but this is growing.”

The public can search free of charge to verify whether property they are about to purchase is legitimate.

“By identifying every item, the NECD deters criminals, ensuring stolen items are almost impossible to sell on,” claim its creators Adrian and Amanda Keeling.

Rider Annette Hughes said: “Any way property can be made safe is good. What worries me is the constant payout for different things.”

And Staffordshire owner Hannah Gatt believes she is already covered.

“I am a member of Horsewatch and a scheme run by police. My pony is microchipped and everything is insured, so it would be paying for something I already have,” she said.

Adrian and Amanda Keeling hope the NECD will highlight trends in equestrian crime.

Ms Finch said people were registering “slowly” for the service: “We have between 100 and 300 users,” she said.

AmTrust policy-holders can register free, as can RDA member groups, and £10 from every £35 fee will be donated to the RDA.

Visit: www.necd.org.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (7 October, ’10)