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A Sheffield man believes the registration number of his vehicle has been cloned by the suspicious men reportedly seen up and down the country taking photos of horses.

Roger Peacock of Grenoside — close to Hope Valley, Derbyshire, where one of the incidents took place — says the registration number of his cream Ford mini bus has been circulated as being that of a white Transit van, being used by the suspected horse thieves.

“My wife rides and we know lots of people with horses so it’s a bit of a worry. We daren’t go anywhere because I’m concerned an irate horse owner will confront my wife or my son,” he told H&H. “But we have a cream minibus, not a white van.”

Vans using the same plates as Mr Peacock’s mini bus have been seen in multiple locations at the same time and police have confirmed they feel the plates (N253 XAJ) have been cloned.

Inspector Erika Green of Derbyshire Police is urging anyone who sees people acting suspiciously to contact their local police station immediately.

“We have had occasions where people have contacted Horsewatch in the first instance and we have lost valuable time in investigating sightings,” she said.