Owners have been warned of an increase in horse-related thefts, as North Yorkshire Police offer advice to equestrians looking to keep their tack and equipment safe.

“Tack can be extremely valuable, and so unfortunately is often targeted by thieves,” a spokesman for the force said, adding that they had seen a “notable increase” in horse-related theft recently.

Incidents have included thefts of horseboxes and burglaries from stables.

They issued the following advice to help horse owners and riders guard against further incidents:

  • Invest in good quality padlocks and chains for your gates and doors. Ideally using padlocks with a heavy-duty hasp and staple on barn and outbuilding doors, fitted directly to the door, with two equally-spaced locks from top to bottom.
  • Keep all tack and equipment in a secure, locked tack room, and keep up with maintenance, as rusty or failing hinges and rotten wood are easily spotted. If possible, fit bars on tack room windows, as these are often a key entry point for thieves.
  • Ensure your yard is well lit – this is a key deterrent. Consider also installing CCTV. Although it can be expensive, cheaper alternatives are coming to the market and it can be instrumental in both deterring and catching offenders.
  • Get your tack and equipment properly marked. The force offers regular property marking events at local retailers, and can even come to your yard, so keep an eye out for posters and social media posts about these.
  • All equines need to be microchipped by law and you should update your Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) with the microchip number so this can be uploaded to the Central Equine Database. The database allows you to quickly report your horse is missing and check if a horse is legally for sale.
  • Be vigilant for any strangers visiting the yard and if it is a shared premises, try to make everyone aware of any known visitors.
  • Keep a regular check of all fences and field boundaries for any weak spots which would let horses out or allow thieves in. Put padlocks on both ends of your gates so that they cannot be lifted off the hinges.

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