Horse owners are being warned to keep an eye on their horses after a spate of thefts recently.
Horses and ponies around the country are being found with plaits in their manes, which owners and Horsewatch groups believe are marks or “tags”.
Owners think that the ponies are marked by the plaits so that thieves can identify which pony is to be stolen later in the dark.
Helen Evans, Horsewatch coordinator, said: “To date we don’t have any proof that any horses stolen have been marked with plaits.
“If your horse or pony is marked in this way, please move it to a different location and use a microchip or freeze brand, which will help us reunite you with your animal if it stolen.”
Last week two owners spoke out to warn others after a group of three men were seen with horses near Verwood in Dorset.
One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told local press: “We are extremely concerned that this is occurring more frequently. Those behind the tagging need to be stopped.”
She believes a white ford transit van and red horsebox may be related to the Dorset incidents.