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New initiative to fight tack theft

Walsall’s saddle companies have stepped up the fight against tack theft by inserting electronic tagging devices in saddles as they are manufactured.

Innovation-Research & Development (IRD), a security company based in West Sussex, suggested tagging saddles at manufacturer’s level to protect retail saddlers and customers alike.

In recent months, there have been several thefts from retailers where large numbers of brand new saddles have been stolen. This new tagging process will issue every saddle with a unique number,which can be read by a reader, thus making the saddle traceable.

It is not uncommon for stolen tack to be sold through auctions so Horsewatch representatives will be issued with readers to use at sales. The presence of these tags could put an end to one outlet for stolen tack.

One of the company’s directors, Tony King explains how the idea arose: “My daughter was in the pony club and I couldn’t believe the number of saddles that were regularly being stolen.

“I realised that just tagging was not enough so I spent a couple of years working on designs before coming up with the device now being fitted.”

Tony first approached the Society of Master Saddlers with his idea but they told him that he would need to go directly to the manufacturers.

Tony then spoke to the Walsall Equestrian Society, who represent Walsall’s saddle manufacturers, and as their chief executive Jacqui Poutney explains, they are delighted with how things are progressing.

“The processstarted about a month ago and – so far – uptake has been good. This method of tagging gives thieves a clear message: if you steal saddles, you will eventually be caught,” says Jacqui.

Participating saddlers are able to buy their IRD tags throughthe Walsall Equestrian Society. Anyone purchasing a new saddle with the tags will have the option to register their saddle with the IRD for a one-off fee of £19. If the saddle is sold on the new purchaser can then re-register their details for the same fee.

“This method of tagging provides protection for both retail and private buyers — if the saddle is stolen from premises we will have a record of the saddle’s number which will then give us the opportunity to trace it,” says Tony.

For more information contact IRD (tel: 01243 783 858) or visit: www.innovationresearchdevelopmentltd.co.uk

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