A five-year old registered fell mare has been returned to her owners after being stolen over seven months ago from fields in Cumbria.

Hettie was stolen on 6 June 2009 during the Appleby Horse Fair, a gathering of gypsies and travellers that takes place annually in Cumbria’s Eden Valley

She was returned to her rightful owners when a breeder in Kent became suspicious about the origins of a pony he had bought.

He had bought the mare in September from travellers at a horse fair in Kent, but soon became apprehensive when they failed to produce her passport.

After spotting an appeal for information about Hettie on the Fell Pony Society website, he got in touch with her owners.

“He asked if Hettie had any distinctive markings,” owner Derrick Byas told H&H, “and when he found out that she had been microchipped, decided to scan the pony he had bought.

“When the number scanned matched the number in our pony’s passport we were amazed and delighted.”

Arrangements were made to transport Hettie back to Cumbria, and she is now roaming her home turf with her mother and daughter.

“We have been extremely lucky,” continued Derrick. “It certainly shows the positives of the microchip legislation!”