Police in Derby and Leeds are advising horseowners to take extraprecautions to protect their property following a number of recent tack thefts.

In the past three months, equestrian centres and yards in the Amber Valley and Erewash areas of Derbyshire have all been the targets of thieves.

Items stoleninclude saddles and bridles with the total value of goods taken exceeding £28,000.

Parkside Stables Riding School in Alfreton is just one of 16 premises to be burgled. Owner Suzanne Brooks said: “I went out for a family meal at 7pm and was backby 8.45pm – when I got back I discovered thieves had broken into the tackroom and stolen 26 saddles and bridles.

“I’m very lucky because I have a lot of good friends who have lent me tack. I have started replacing the stolen items with secondhand tack – all of which is now branded.”

PC Julie Hay, from Derbyshire Police, said: “We are very concerned – at the moment we haven’t got any clues who is behind it, but believe it is somebody who seems to know exactly what are looking for. It’salways good class, high-quality tack saddlery that is been taken.”

Police in Leeds are reporting similar problems after the Leeds Area Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Group had their tack stolen for the second time in four months.

The first incident happened in September last year, when all six saddles were stolen from the group’s base at Whinmoor, Leeds. Thieves then struck again on 13 January and took the replacement saddles and all the bridles.

Riding at the centre has been cancelled until the tack can be replaced. Anyone with information leading to the recovery of the tack is asked to call (tel: 07710 307548).

Anyone with any information about the recent burglaries, or who has been offered stolen property should contact the Derbyshire Constabulary Community Safety Office at Alfreton Divisional Headquarters (tel: 01773 571758) or contact Crimestoppers anonymously (tel: 0800 555 111).

Free crime prevention advice can be obtained from your local police station and owners are advised to security mark their property.