Police patrols at the New Forest pony sales paid off last month with the discovery of a pair of stolen horse trailers.

Officers on the lookout for stolen property at the Beaulieu Road sales near Lyndhurst identified one trailer taken from Nottingham and one from Salisbury.

Hampshire Police regularly attend the sales, at which both New Forest ponies and other breeds, much of which is youngstock, go under the hammer. The 3 or 4-strong uniformed enforcement team typically includes a vehicle examiner, equine liaison officers and safer neighbourhood officer.

As well as taking the opportunity to look out for stolen property, police at the sales chat to buyers, sellers and visitors and give advice on rural and equine crime.

A spokesman for Hampshire Police said: “The team engages with those attending to provide crime reduction advice, promote Trailerwatch and Horsewatch schemes and encourage people to report rural crime that might otherwise go unreported.”

He added: “To my knowledge, the owners of the stolen trailers found in August have been contacted and the trailers returned.”

Officers at the sales are also taking a tougher stance against vehicle-related offences than in previous years. Last month the team handed out £30 fines to 5 visitors for registration infringements, such as unplated trailers, or trailer plates that do not match its towing vehicle’s plates. In previous years, such offences would have prompted a verbal warning, but no fine.

More sales at Beaulieu Road are scheduled in September, October and November, with 300 ponies, donkeys and horses up for auction at the next sale on 4 September.