Police are searching for the owner of a drone that they believe might be linked to the death of one of their horses.
Fimber, from the West Yorkshire Police mounted branch, died on 15 October.
The 14-year-old, who joined the force in 2004, appeared to have been spooked while in the paddock. CCTV footage (below, viewer discretion advised) shows he tried to jump the fence and collided with a wooden post.
The horse was seriously injured and died on his way to the vets.
The branch are based at Carr Gate, on the outskirts of Wakefield.
Officers are now investigating the possibility that the incident could be linked to the discovery of a radio-controlled drone that was found at 1.10pm on 18 October.
“We have reviewed CCTV footage which shows Fimber bolting seemingly in reaction to something nearby. This resulted in him being seriously injured and led to his death. We cannot discount that this drone was involved,” said Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson.
“There is a possibility that Fimber was reacting to the drone landing nearby or being close to him when he bolted with tragic consequences. We know he was used to the helicopter taking off and landing nearby and by the nature of his training would be used to loud noises, which tends to suggest it was something unusual that caused him to react.
“I am very keen to hear from anyone who has any information that could assist us in tracing the owner of this drone.
“I appreciate that radio-controlled drones are becoming increasingly popular and I am not wanting to detract from the pleasure people get from flying them. Clearly flying one near to an operational police location such as Carr Gate, where the helicopter is regularly taking off and landing, is not appropriate and could have very serious consequences.
“I want to appeal directly to the owner of the drone to come forward so that we can bring this matter to a conclusion.”
The drone found is a “Walkera Runner 250” device, which is about nine inches long. It is widely available and costs around £200.
Anyone with information is asked to call 101.