The Horse Trust has paid tribute to a “brave and characterful” former police horse, who has died aged 20.

Retired Northumbria Police horse Pongo had a busy career with the force, taking part in general patrols as well as high-risk missing person searches, football matches and demonstrations.

Following his seven-year career, he retired to the Horse Trust and enjoyed seven years with the charity.

He retired alongside fellow grey Northumbria Police colleague Phlint, who continues to reside with the charity.

“Pongo was described as somewhat of a character in the police; he was an incredibly clever horse but could be a little moody and quite stubborn at times,” said a Horse Trust spokesman.

“Throughout his retirement, he could often be found with his field friend Marsa and he also had a close friendship with fellow resident Wiggins after they both received treatment for injuries together and became the best of friends during their recoveries and beyond.

“Our grooms tell us that Wiggins was very attached to Pongo and Pongo was like a wise old uncle to Wiggins. Pongo is such a massive loss to us all and he is so incredibly missed by the entire team.”

Sadly Pongo recently suffered a very severe sudden onset of colic that was unresponsive to pain relief. A journey to the hospital was not an option due to the severity of the colic and the only option the team had was to say goodbye to him.

“It is always incredibly difficult to say goodbye to our residents but we know we must do what is the kindest thing for them when the time is right,” added the charity spokesman. “Tragically, we knew that the time was right for Pongo, our police hero.”

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