NORTH Yorkshire Police has released a range of security best practice recommendations following concerns about horse thefts.

The force’s rural taskforce released the advice last week after reports of horse owners finding plaits or unusual tangles in their horses’ manes.

A spokesman said: “In most cases, this has probably been caused by the mane getting tangled by the wind, mud or plants like thistles, and is nothing to be concerned about.

“There is a rumour that these plaits are a marker for the theft of the horse, which does cause worry. However, we are not aware of any link between tangled manes and horse thefts.

“Nevertheless, please be vigilant. Horses, stables and tack rooms can be a target for criminals, and it’s worth taking every possible step to protect your horse and property.”

Advice released by the police included keeping horses and ponies freeze- or hoof-marked and micro-chipped, with their details up-to-date and on a national database, keeping an up-to-date horse passport, tagging or marking tack and considering security of horse boxes or trailers.

They also suggested that tack rooms should be securely constructed and securely locked with a five-lever mortice lock.

Horse owners and enthusiasts were also invited to follow North Yorkshire Police’s Horsewatch scheme on social media via NYP Horsewatch on Facebook, and @NYP_Horsewatch on Twitter – so they can find out about future events and be made aware of any equestrian crimes in their area.

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