POLICE were called to 850 reports of loose or fly-grazing horses in County Durham last year- 90 per cent of which were in a single town.

Of all the horse related incidents reported to Durham Constabulary last year, around 765 were in and around Bishop Auckland meaning its officers had to deal with an average of more than two a day.

Inspector Andy Reeves of Bishop Auckland neighbourhood team said: “It’s certainly a problem for the area.

“Horses stray onto our roads and many are fly-grazed. The costs of keeping them means they are being abandoned in fields and along roadsides.”

The most recent reports to police have been a loose pony on the A688 near South Church and a horse in the road at Fylands Drive.

The Northern Echo: WRECKAGE: A 17-year-old has had a lucky escape after crashing into a horse in Bishop Auckland in the early hours of Sunday morning

WRECKAGE: A 17-year-old had a lucky escape after crashing into a horse in Bishop Auckland 

Earlier this year The Northern Echo reported on a teenage motorist who had a lucky escape when his car was written off when he hit a stray horse on the A688 between Bishop Auckland and West Auckland and repeated incidents of sports fields, schools and gardens being damaged by roaming ponies.

In a bid to tackle the problem and reduce demand on police resources, the force hopes to secure funding for an initiative that would make it easier to trace owners.

day’s passport and microchipping consultation and are keen to hear from horse owners who want to get involved.

Insp Reeves said: “Ideally we want to stop horses straying onto roads which causes disruption and takes up hundreds of hours of officers’ time.

“In a bid to find a solution, we hope to secure funding to help horse owners with passports and microchipping.

“Horses born after 2009 have to be microchipped. When horses are not microchipped, it makes it virtually impossible to trace the owners. We believe this will go some way to help find those irresponsible owners that abandon their horses as well as helping owners be reunited with their animals that have been stolen or removed by the local authority.”

Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman welcomed the move.

She said: “Loose horses are a big problem in this area, and I would certainly welcome this new scheme to encourage responsible horse ownership, and help make our roads and communities safer.”

The initiative that police hope to set up will be open to people living in the Bishop Auckland area only and they are keen to understand interest before a date is set.

Anyone interested in discounted microchipping can email horse.project@durham.pnn.police.uk with their name, address, contact phone numbers and how many horses they would want microchipping.

Have you seen incidents of loose or fly-grazing horses?

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