A star police horse with a phobia of crisp packets has been retired after a long and successful career.
Northumbria Police’s Paddington, also known as Bob, has closely followed the fortunes of Newcastle United and Sunderland in recent years as a match day regular outside St James’ Park and the Stadium of Light.
The 17hh part-bred Irish draught has made a big impact to the force since joining the mounted section at Kirkley Hall, near Ponteland, having previously worked in Cleveland Police until 2014.
Sergeant Stu Coates has watched Paddington’s progress during his time on the section and was among those to pay tribute to the outgoing stalwart.
“Paddington has been an invaluable match day horse involved in most of the major local and national clashes,” he said.
“He is fearless when faced with angry crowds, but does have a fear of crisp packets, flags and bubbles.
“Paddington has always been well behaved, although he can be quite bolshie.
“He has served the communities of Cleveland and Northumbria diligently and has protected the public and officers for many years. His role in supporting community engagement and crime prevention alongside his public order function has been invaluable.
“He is much-loved and will be missed greatly by officers and grooms alike. Happy retirement!”
Paddington arrived at Tyneside following the closure of Cleveland Police’s mounted section in 2014.
He moved north with fellow police horse, Pye (also known as Ranger), who retired last year and found a local home to live out his retirement.
The pair have now been reunited, after Paddington served his final day in the force last month.
Paddington leaves behind eight equine colleagues, all of whom also have names beginning with a ‘P’ so they can be identified as working for the police.
Percy, Phoenix, Patronus, Parker, Punch, Picasso, Peroni and Puzzle remain part of the mounted section, and continue to play a vital role across the region.
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“Our mounted section is a brilliant department and undertakes vast and diverse roles to help officers working across the Force area and beyond,” Sergeant Coates said.
“Our horses are invaluable when it comes to policing football matches, large-scale events and protests in our region.
“They undergo a huge amount of training to be able to perform, but love coming into work every day and meeting the lovely people who live and work in the North East.”
To keep up-to-date with the horses’ activity, follow them on Twitter at @NPHorses
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The latest edition (10 May) features our full report from Badminton, including in-depth analysis, expert comment, pictures and more. Plus, read our feature on the options for retiring your horse and in this week’s vet clinic we look into the challenges of equine surgery