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A local councillor helped foil the theft of three horses in Codnor, Derbyshire on Thursday 8 September.

Amber Valley borough councillor Alex Stevenson, 41, was waiting at traffic lights in his Land Rover when an Iveco horsebox passed him at high speed at 7.55pm.

Two grooms – who had been in a nearby pub eating – were pursuing on foot, however when they saw the councillor’s car they pleaded with him to follow.

He immediately called the police who asked him to give chase.

After a mile-and-a-half he caught up with the lorry and followed at a distance with dimmed lights.

When the lorry turned into an industrial estate and attempted to turn around Cllr Stevenson blocked the entrance with his vehicle.

The two owners pulled the thief from the cab before checking on the three horses, believed to be trotters returning from a race in Derbyshire.

However during a struggle the thief escaped and fled on foot. He is still at large.

Cllr Stevenson said: “It was automatic for me to follow, however I ensured that I did not get close enough to alarm the thief because of the horses onboard.

The horses were all lathered up but unharmed, the grooms were annoyed that the thief had escaped however the overriding feeling was of relief.”

The thief is described as a Caucasian male in his 40s with an Irish accent wearing a hat, blue jeans and a dark jacket.

Anyone with information should ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or Derbyshire police on 03451 233333 quoting crime reference: 632 of the 8th of September.