A MAN has been sentenced after a string of sex attacks on a horse.

Mark Woollen was caught with his trousers down engaging in a sex act with a horse, called Molly, and had been spotted riding her around a field with no trousers on.

He was today given a six-month suspended jail term and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for seven years.

Magistrates also heard how he had stolen items from horses and was found in possession of amphetamines and cannabis.

Mark Brennan, prosecuting, said that the horse owner arrived to see Woollen engaged in a sex act with Molly.

"Another time Woollen was seen to be riding Molly with no trousers on.

"On his arrest he said 'I've been a fool to myself'. He told police he had given in to the temptation of having sex with horses. He admitted riding without his trousers for sexual gratification."

Woolen admitted intercourse with an animal and asked for seven similar offences to be taken into account.

He also pleaded guilty to two offences of possession of drugs and one of theft, with four other thefts of riding equipment to be taken into consideration.

Woollen was given the six month jail term, suspended for two years, by North Tyneside magistrates and given a supervision order for two years and told to do 100 hours community work.

After the case Molly's owner, Jean Day, said: "I'm really pleased he has been put on the sex offender's register but I was hoping he would go to jail to be honest.

"Molly's our horse and has been for 13 years, it terrible to think what she has gone through.

"Woollen disgusts me and he should be ashamed of himself."

Woollen, 33, of Goathland Avenue, Longbenton, North Tyneside, was caught exposing himself and indecently assaulting the horse called Molly at East Benton Stables, off Station Road, Wallsend, in March this year.

He also stole of riding equipment from various stables in North Tyneside.

Elizabeth Dunbar, mitigating, said: "He is extremely distraught for himself and his family who have had to endure harassment and upset from third parties who have read certain items in the press.

"Clearly he has many problems which have culminated in these events.

"He has recognised he has a problem and wants everything out in the open so he can get the help he needs. He needs help rather than punishment."