Every year horses, ponies & equine equipment worth hundreds & thousands of pounds are stolen across the country. This has an emotional and sentimental value to the owners that cannot be quantified.
‘Specialist’ thieves target stables and other rural premises where they know security might not be so tight and where it is less likely that someone will be around. They know that there is a strong possibility that what they steal cannot be personalised by the real owner.
As a response to this problem Gloucestershire Constabulary is asking for members of the community to join their ‘Horsewatch’ scheme.
Gloucestershire Horsewatch has been set up to prevent, reduce and detect equine related crime.
It is run similar to ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ and we need you, the public, to help make this happen, be vigilant and aware.
If you would like to be part of ‘Horsewatch’ and receive regular bulletins from Gloucestershire Constabulary and other Constabulary Horsewatch schemes around the country – please send an email to:- firstname.lastname@example.org
As a reminder to all horse owners – please ensure that your horses & ponies are ‘Freeze marked’ & ‘Micro-chipped’. With their details up-to-date and on a National database.
All your tack is post coded, tagged, engraved or chemically marked.
Tack Rooms are not ‘named’ but are securely locked with a 5 lever mortice lock to comply with Insurance policies.
Gates are padlocked and have anti-lift locks – rugs not left on gates etc.
Please read below for more advice on Equine Crime Prevention.
If you would like a ‘Horsewatch Area’ Sign, assistance with tack marking or advice – please contact PC Melanie Campbell, Horsewatch Co-ordinator on 01452 396987 or mobile 07866 031 770 Gloucestershire Horsewatch have officers throughout the county who will be happy to help you.
Remember: Mark it – Stamp it – Chip it – Code it or Lose it!!
Your horse is probably one of your most prized possessions so it makes sense to try to protect it. This can be done in several ways:
- Freeze Marking
The horse is permanently freeze marked on the saddle patch with a unique number and registration papers issued to owners.
- Hoof Marking
Farriers brand your postcode onto the animal’s hooves, this requires periodic renewal as the hoof grows.
- Micro-Chip Implant
This is implanted by a vet into the horses neck. Transceivers can be used to detect the signal from the micro-chip if the horse is stolen. Some companies will inform vets, sales venues and abattoirs of the theft. There is also the option of the horse being freeze marked with a horse-shoe symbol to warn thieves it is micro-chipped.
- Horse Passport
Your horse passport should be up to date recording all the identifying marks of your animal. Your veterinary surgeon should be able to assist you. Horses should not be sold without a horse passport.
- Identity Records
Besides your horse passport it is also useful to have copies of colour photographs of your horse in its summer and winter coats. Take photos from the side as well as front and rear. You can then circulate your horse’s details quickly if stolen.
Horse Box/Trailer Security
Like any vehicle your horsebox/trailer is safer when it is parked in a well-lit area, where you can keep an eye on it. Ensure that all doors and ramps are locked and consider use of wheel-clamps, ground anchors and hitch-locks as well as alarms and immobilizers. At horse events ensure it is secure whilst you are away. Taking colour photographs and putting your postcode on the trailer-bar or roof is useful and some owners even fit a ‘Tracker’ system in expensive horseboxes to assist recovery if stolen.
All items of tack should be security marked, thieves are far less likely to steal items that can be traced back to their owners. It is sensible to keep a comprehensive list of all your tack including identification details such as photographs, makes and identification numbers of valuable items like saddles.
Tack can be protected in the following ways:
- Electronic tagging devices
- Forensic identity security solutions
- Postcode letter stamps into leather
- Engraving postcode onto saddle stirrup-bars
- Freeze-marking postcode onto saddles
- Letter dies into bridles
- Embroider rugs
Besides saddles and bridles it is also important to security mark items such as electronic clippers and harnesses.
Stable Yard Security
In assessing the security of your stables, start by checking the perimeter.
- Robust fences and hedges with secure gates prevent horses straying and also prevent thieves from utilizing vehicles to get close to the property and carry stolen goods away.
- Gates are made more of a deterrent if they are chained and hinges protected with anti-lift locks.
- Refrain from leaving head-collars and lead ropes in fields as they could be used by thieves to remove horses.
- At entrances to remote stable yards display signs warning thieves that your horses and tack are security marked.
- The most secure stable yards are generally those who have the stables, tack room and valuable vehicles close to the main residence where they can be clearly observed.
- Careful use of lighting can assist in security particularly if it is dusk to dawn.
- Some stable yards make use of alarms and even CCTV. Keeping dogs in the stable complex could also be considered, to raise the alarm.
- Visitors to the stable yard should be escorted and restricted in their access to the site.
Tack Room Security
- The tack room should ideally be constructed of brick or concrete block. If it is constructed of wood then it can be reinforced with steel plate or mesh.
- If it does contain windows and sky lights then they should be kept to a minimum and protected with bars and grills.
Doors and door frames should be reinforced with steel and secured with good quality mortice locks, heavy duty shackle pad locks and heavy duty pad bars.
- Do not mark which door is the entrance to the tack room.
- Saddles and bridles should be locked to their racks.
- Keep key holders to a minimum. If keys are lost get locks changed.
If you do experience a theft ensure to report it and if you are a member of a ‘Horsewatch’ Scheme in your area make other members aware.
For free crime prevention advice contact your local Crime Reduction Officer on 0845 090 1234.
Bull Dog Security Products www.bulldogsecure.com
Data Tag www.datatag.co.uk
Additional Information & Advice
UK Horsewatch Alliance http://www.ukhorsewatch.org.uk/
NFED, Connecting the Central Southern Community www.nfed.co.uk
(Gloucestershire Constabulary is not responsible for the content of external internet sites).