Sharp rise in horse thefts

  • A significant increase in the number of thefts of horses and equipment this month has prompted police to renew their plea for owners to mark their property, including horses.

    In one case a man has been arrested and bailed after two stolen horses were recovered following a horse sale in Melton Mowbray. The horses, both freeze-marked, were stolen in separate raids in Worcestershire the night before Holmfirth horse sale. A third horse, the field companion of one of the recovered horses, is still missing.

    The horses were recovered after freeze-mark company Farmkey received a call from a new owner of one, a 15.2hh bay TB gelding called Kelly.

    Kelly’s owner, Sherrie Harrold, whose sister’s horse, Sprout, is still missing, says: “I believe that Kelly, Sprout and the third horse, Jazz, were taken to Holmfirth, where Kelly was bought by a dealer on behalf of another buyer. The buyer then called Farmkey to re-register him.

    “On hearing Kelly was stolen, Jazz, whom the dealer had also bought, was checked and returned to her owner. If it hadn’t been for the freeze-marks, we wouldn’t have got them back.”

    At least six horses, which were stolen in the first three weeks of October, are still missing. One of the stolen horses has been separated from her four-month-old foal.

    Two of the missing horses are freeze-marked: a 9hh skewbald Shetland (0Y4A) and a 14hh part-Welsh piebald gelding (R8C1). The animals targeted range from a 14hh coloured cob gelding to a 16.2hh bay TB mare.

    Meanwhile, stolen property including 50 saddles and an Ifor Williams trailer has been recovered from the Lower Ecton area of Northampton. Most has now been returned to their owners — from Northamptonshire, the Thames Valley area and Humberside — thanks to markings on the property.

    “We are urging people to mark all their property, with postcode and house number, so that if items such as these are recovered they can easily be returned to owners,” says a spokesman for Northamptonshire Police.

    Anyone with information about any of these thefts should contact Crimestoppers (tel: 0800 555111).

  • This story was first published in Horse & Hound (28 October ’04)

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