London’s longest-serving police horse has died aged 22.

Bugsy, a “brave and loyal” 18hh piebald, was put down earlier today (Friday 21 August).

Officially known as James, after ex-Commissioner James Hart, the horse joined the City of London Police in 2004.

He was the first piebald horse to serve with the police.

In recent years Bugsy had suffered from ringbone and sidebone, which had grown progressively worse.

Today vets decided to put him down due to the condition.

Bugsy was involved in all the major deployments of police horses in London over the past 11 years, including the G20 protests in 2009, the student demonstrations in 2009 and 2010, the London riots of 2011, the 2012 Olympics, Trooping the Colour and the State Opening of Parliament.

He was also at every Lord Mayor’s Show during the past decade.

In 2014, he escorted the Lord Mayor’s coach at the Lord Mayor’s Show.

City Police said he was a “very steady and solid” horse that mentored the new recruits.

He also had a “calming presence,” but a “cheeky side”.

“He wasn’t just our biggest horse — he was one of the biggest personalities too,” said Jesse Wynne, a sergeant in the mounted branch.

“He was a ladies’ man, and had a real distrust of men, and sometimes used to do a runner up the yard while they were tacking up.

“He also had a real love-hate relationship with our farrier, and point-blank refused to be shoed at Wood Street Police Station. He only allowed the farrier anywhere near him at Bushy Park Stables, the Force’s satellite stables in Surrey.”

Bugsy loved tomatoes. He was also known for his love of a good shoulder scratch, keeping officers as scratching slaves until he was happy.

“He was greatly loved by all officers and staff and his loss will be felt deeply,” added Sergeant Wynne.