Rug thefts warning to horse owners

horse owners in West Yorkshire are being urged to be vigilant following a spate of thefts of rugs used to keep animals warm in the cold weather.

Police have received numerous reports from horse owners across the country in recent months. The rugs cost 100 and upwards to replace.

One horse owner in the Hunsworth area of Cleckheaton had 11 rugs taken in one night earlier this month and five before Christmas.

Bradford South Horse Watch Co-ordinator police community support officer said: "These thieves are looking for easy opportunities to remove these items with a view to selling them on.

"The coats are not cheap to replace and are invaluable to the horses which would suffer during freezing temperatures if they were to be left without them.

"Many of the animals do not have other shelter and rely upon the warmth they provide.

"Some of the rugs have been marked with postcodes and have been secured to the horse with a padlock, however, they are still being removed.

"In particular, I have recently received a report from one of the Bradford Horse Watch members who has had 11 of the rugs taken.

"Most of these were marked with the postcode BD12 some were distinctive with cow print and an apple print.

"We are doing everything we can to trace those responsible and I am calling for any witnesses to these incidents or anyone with information to contact the police immediately.

"Likewise, if you are offered a horse rug, please check for any markings and contact the police it you believe the circumstances to be suspicious.

"I would suggest that where possible, owners regularly monitor their horses if they rely upon the use of a rug. It is important that we put a stop to this and ensure the welfare of these horses."

Anyone with information can contact police on 0845 6060606.