BOSSES of a social enterpise which encourages people to enjoy the countryside on horseback have told of their shock after hackers claiming to be Islamic militants closed its website.

Ride Yorkshire, which runs riding trips in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors, said it spent a week rebuilding its website after an Algerian-based group prevented visitors from viewing forthcoming rides, profits from which are used to provide riding experiences for disadvantaged children.

The cyber attack comes just weeks after Sowerby Primary School, near Thirsk, was hacked by people claiming to be Muslim anarchists, leaving parents concerned for their children's safety.

Janet Cochrane, director of Ride Yorkshire, said she had been alerted to the attack by a supporter.

She said: “I’d only been on the website that morning and it was fine, so I was amazed and shocked to see that our friendly site had been replaced by an Algerian flag covered in Arabic slogans and abusive comments in English.”

The attack on the North Yorkshire-based group was reported to police, who said the hackers were based in Algeria and it was possible Ride Yorkshire's website had not been specifically targeted.

She said she was particularly shocked by the attack as the group organises pleasure rides, guided rides and horse holidays and provide maps and directions for good riding circuits which people can download for free.

Ms Cochrane said: “We don’t have any political brief and we welcome people of any faith - we’ve organised riding for British Asians and disadvantaged inner city groups of children and vulnerable adults, amongst others.

"Our primary market is happy hackers - maybe the cyber-attackers got the wrong end of the stick?”