Horse owners are being reminded to check their equine passports are valid — or face prosecution.

The warning comes after a dealer in the north-east was slapped with a fine after importing three horses into the UK with the wrong passports.

John Graham of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, pleaded guilty to bringing three horses over from Holland without valid passports when appearing before South East Northumberland magistrates.

He was fined £250 and ordered to pay £720 costs.

Mr Graham, who owns Lintonville Stables at Ashington, bought six horses from a Dutch dealer in 2010. But three passports were for different animals and one of the non- passported horses was discovered to have equine infectious anaemia (swamp fever).

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (28 April, 2011)