Riders use social media in bid to catch horse attackers

CRUELTY against horses is being targeted as part of a crackdown on equine crime in north Lincolnshire.

The new Horse Watch scheme follows an attack on a horse in the Isle of Axholme in June, which had its tail and mane chopped off and a horrifying assault on a pregnant mare in Gainsborough the same month. The 19-year-old mare and her unborn foal died after being attacked with a blunt instrument.

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Although there has been a decrease in rural crime, thefts of tack and other equipment are thought to sometimes go unreported. The idea to expand the scheme, already operating in the East Riding, in partnership with the police, was the brainchild of rider Nicola Latham, who works for Safer Neighbourhoods at North Lincolnshire Council.

Nicola will be updating a dedicated Facebook page with reports, with horse owners able to post comments and share information. She said: “When the attack happened (on the Isle) we wanted to put an alert out and the best way we found was to Facebook groups. We managed to get it out really quickly to a wide audience at zero cost.”

The latest victim of horse crime was Coun Ralph Ogg, who had a horsebox and Daihatsu 4x4 stolen from near Burton upon Stather on Friday. The Daihatsu was found on Monday on a traveller’s site near Doncaster. Equine Liaison Officer Pc Amanda Barnett said: “When the crops are down, we do get an increase in hare coursing and people travelling across the border from other counties and while they are doing that they are around here looking at what else they can steal. To be quite honest we don’t have a lot of equine crime in our division – but we want to keep it that way.”