A MAN has appeared in court charged with stealing equipment from a Huddersfield riding school.
Now police are launching a campaign to crack down on horse crime after a spate of similar offences.
The 21-year-old Bradford man is charged with burgling Westwyns Riding School on Manchester Road, Marsden. Pads, straps and 14 saddles were allegedly taken.
The man appeared before Bradford magistrates for a preliminary hearing on January 28 and will be back before the court on March 11.
Officers are now looking into a string of similar incidents across the district.
Insp Mark Trueman, of The Valleys Neighbourhood Policing Team, said horse equipment could fetch high prices.
He added: “It is very important that every effort is made in reducing the opportunity for this type of crime to occur.
“We recognise the importance of supporting members of the community who own horses and how vital it is to ensure we create a secure environment for their animals, equipment and vehicles.”
Plans are now in the pipeline to launch a scheme called ‘Horse Watch’, which works along similar lines to Neighbourhood Watch.
It will show horse owners how to fight equipment theft and set up a communication network to allow them to tell each other about incidents and potential offenders
A ‘Horse Watch’ liaison officer will provide support to those taking part.
Insp Trueman said steps could be taken to secure stables.
He said: “This includes making sure you have a good level of building and perimeter security.
“It is also very important that people do not overlook tack and equipment security.
“This can include marking their tack with engravings or permanent markers.
“Horse owners can even micro-chip their saddles, which does not cause any damage to the equipment.
“Consideration should also be given to freeze marking their animals or micro-chipping.
“Trailers should be kept in well-lit areas, with the owner’s postcode written on the roof,” he added.