Police mark horse gear in initiative to deter thieves


police-image-250xPolice in North Yorkshire, England, have been marking tack with unique codes for owners as part of the relaunch of its Horsewatch scheme.

The force’s Rural Taskforce says it hopes the sophisticated property-marking machines it is now using will protect horse owners’ gear from criminals.

Constable Hannah McPeake said, as a horse owner, she knew the importance and value of people’s horses and equipment.

“This is why I am involved in the scheme,” she said.

“Fortunately, levels of equestrian crime are very low in North Yorkshire, but you can never be too careful.

“Preventing crime and deterring criminals is very important, and we are encouraging all equestrian businesses and horse owners to check their yard security and think carefully about how to protect their property.”

The most recent tack marking event, at a livery yard in York, had an excellent response, with 16 saddles and five bridles receiving security markings.

Items are marked with a visible, permanent unique number with a hi-tech “dot peen” property-marking machine. The service is provided free by North Yorkshire Police.

Dot peen marking involves using a tungsten carbide-tipped pin to indent an object with dots to create a visible, permanent unique number. The unique number is entered in the national Immobilise property register database, greatly increasing the chances that it will be reunited with its owner if it is lost or stolen.

Synthetic tack or padded bridles cannot be marked using dot peen.

While other methods of property marking, such as ultraviolet marker pens or forensically coded liquid can also be effective, the visual deterrent of a permanently marked serial number alone could be enough to deter would-be thieves.

McPeake said police were organising future marking events at livery yards, feed stores and equestrian shops across North Yorkshire.

Officers will also be on-hand at the event to offer equestrian crime prevention advice.

North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce works with communities, targeting criminals who offend in rural areas. The taskforce also provides crime prevention advice to those at risk of criminality.

Follow NYP Horsewatch on Facebook, and @NYP_Horsewatch on Twitter to find out about future events and be made aware of equestrian crimes in their area. horsewatch@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

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