Kent Police are warning people who are looking to buy a horse to be vigilant — following reports that fraudulent dealers are operating in the county.

Allegations have been made to the police that horses are being sold which are not as described. Some are lame or injured.

PC Erin Thornton said: “Allegations have been made that horses are being sold by horse dealers as suitable for novice riders or children.

“The victims say they have then discovered problems with their new horse, which on some occasions have led to injuries [to the rider] as well as unexpected financial burders.”

Officers investigating the activities of horse dealers arrested four people on suspicion of fraud in April and May last year.

Two women, both aged 25 and from Maidstone and Marden plus a 63-year-old man from Deal and a 37-year-old man from Meopham, remain on police bail.

Police are advising potential buyers to use a vet of their own choosing, and to always ask to see the horse’s passport.

They also advise the buyer to be present at a vetting.

“If in any doubt, Trading Standards can be contacted for guidance,” said a spokesman.

If you have information, contact Kent Police tel. 101 giving reference CY/016483/10 or call Kent Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555111.