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Local Horsewatch scheme warns owners

Essex Horsewatch is warning horseowners to be on alert after an increase in tack thefts

Owners of yards and stables in Essex, and in particular the Saffron Walden area, are being warned to be on the alert for strangers or unusual vehicles following an increase in thefts.

This warning comes from Essex Horsewatch, which with the support of Essex Police, was launched in 1993 to make the fight against equine crimemore effective.

As a crime prevention organisation Essex Horsewatch advises on measures such as security of livery yards and the marking of horses, ponies and all associated tack, trailers and boxes.

Using a highly effective network of co-ordinators, details of all Essex equine crime are passed between members.

Chairman of Essex Horsewatch Mick Hewitt, said: “We always emphasise the importance of checking all the people coming in and out of livery yards – ask what people are doing there. Most thefts occur after a visit to a yard.

“This year alone, 24 saddles have been “lost” in the county – this is a marked increase on last year for the same period.”

Essex Horsewatch purchased its own security marking system for saddles 18 months ago, which imprints a security code into the leatherwork of saddles.

The equipment consists of a press and special die-stamps. A circular logo, containing a unique serial number and district code, is impressed into the leather of the saddle.

Owners also get a quality metal plaque to fix to the D-ring, identifying that the saddle has been marked.

Horsewatch circulates details of all horse-related crime in an area. Co-ordinators of the scheme also visit livestock markets, boot sales and salesrooms searching for stolen property.

Visit www.essexhorsewatch.org.uk for more information and joining details, or contact Mick Hewitt (tel: 01255 254067) or email:mick_hewitt@essex.police.uk

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