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Stolen horsebox recovered by police thanks to public’s vigilance

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A stolen horsebox was recovered by police within hours thanks to a prompt report, public vigilance and a quick response by North Yorkshire Police.

Stolen horsebox recovered by police thanks to public’s vigilance

At about 3pm on Tuesday 18 June 2019, the force received a report that a 3.5-tonne Renault horsebox had been stolen a short time earlier from Thirsk Racecourse.

Local response and roads policing officers immediately began an area search, and the owner posted details of the stolen vehicle on Facebook.

Acting on information received, including sightings from several members of the public, officers tracked it down at around 8pm near West Tanfield.

The horsebox was removed to a secure location for forensic examination, following which it will be returned to its rightful owner.

The grateful owner subsequently posted on Facebook: “Massive thank you to everyone who shared my status regarding the horsebox stolen from Thirsk this afternoon. Big thanks also to the Police Constables who came out, took our statements and sent a colleague to on a mission to find it! Brilliant work. Big relief, we get it back when the forensics team have checked it out.”

The police investigation into the theft of the horsebox is ongoing.

While this incident ended well, equine equipment is high-value and portable, and so is frequently targeted by criminals, particularly in rural areas.

To prevent these crimes, horse owners should ensure that:

▪ Your horses and ponies are freeze or hoof marked and micro-chipped, with their details up-to-date and on a national database.

▪ Your horse passport is up to date and has a record of your horse’s marks.

▪ All your tack is postcoded, tagged, micro-chipped, freeze marked, engraved or chemically marked.

▪ Consider security of your horse box or trailer by parking it in a well lit area and 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.

▪ Tack rooms are not ‘named’ but are securely locked with a five-lever mortice lock to comply with insurance policies. Your tack room should be constructed of brick or concrete block. If it is constructed of wood then it can be reinforced with steel plate or mesh. Windows should be protected with bars and grills and doors and door frames should be reinforced with steel. Saddles and bridles should be locked to their racks.

Consider also the security of your stable yard:

▪ Robust fences and hedges with secure gates prevent horses straying and thieves from getting close to the property.

▪ 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.

▪ Position your stables, tack room and valuable vehicles close to your main where they can be clearly observed.

▪ Consider your use of lighting 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.

Next week, on Friday 28 June from 10am to 2pm, officers from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce will be offering a free tack marking service at York Auction Centre in Murton.

You can also download an identification pack from the North Yorkshire Police website at www.northyorkshire.police.uk/horsewatch. Horse owners are being encouraged to print out a pack, fill it in with details and photographs of horses, tack, horseboxes and trailers and other equipment, and then keep it in a safe place.

Last modified: June 20, 2019