Warnings of a rise in horse rug theft

  • Rug theft is on the rise as the weather turns colder — with rugs being taken from tack rooms and off horses’ backs.

    “We’re having more reports,” said Nicki Whittaker of the NFU Mutual insurance company.

    Rugs are always a target at this time of year and we would recommend people mark them clearly, on the outside of the rug so that it makes them harder to sell on and easier to identify if they are recovered.”

    Garry Porter from the UK Horsewatch Alliance echoed the warning. “It’s an annual problem. The weather changes and your new or freshly washed rugs go missing.

    “But there is subtlety to it too — if you have a rotten old rug stolen, and you wonder why, don’t be surprised if the shiny new one you buy to replace it disappears soon afterwards. Do whatever you can to make your rug as unattractive as possible.”

    Tack and rug theft is the most common claim handled by NFU — costing the company more than £750,000 between July 2011 and June 2012.

    NFU also believes that the majority of the thefts were planned, rather than opportunistic crimes.

    Ms Whittaker added: “Initials, a postcode or the horse’s freezemark can be stenciled, ironed or embroidered on the rug.

    “Most stolen items are sold on at car boot sales, markets and internet auction sites so it makes sense that new or expensive rugs are more desirable for thieves.”

    Last week a plea went out on the H&H forum after a horse owner in Dartford, Kent, had her rugs stolen.

    “My yard was broken into last night, all the rugs were taken off the horses’ backs, along with all spares,” she wrote.

    And rug thefts features prominently in the latest HorseWatch crime bulletin, which covers October 2012.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (29 November 2012)

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