Illegally grazing horses detained in Northumberland

Northumberland County Council.
Northumberland County Council.

An operation to impound illegally grazing horses in six different areas has been carried out by Northumberland County Council.

In the early hours of Monday, environmental enforcement officers assisted GRC equine bailiffs to detain 13 horses.

Four of them were at Snab Point, Cresswell, three were in Prudhoe, two were picked up from Seghill, Cramlington, and an area of Lynemouth and one horse was detained at the Wansbeck Business Park site in Ashington and in Newbiggin.

The operation was supported by officers from Northumbria Police.

No arrests were made and seizure notices have been placed on the land, or delivered to known horse owners. Any owner wishing to reclaim a detained horse has 96 hours from the time of seizure to do so, on payment of the necessary costs.

The operation, conducted in association with neighbouring landowners Arch and The Crown Estate, was the first action to be taken by the council under the Animals Act 1971 as amended by the Control of Horses Act 2015.

The recently amended legislation is now specifically aimed at tackling fly grazing and gives the local authority greater powers to deal with unauthorised horses in public places that are under private ownership, as well as enabling the council to deal with issues on its own land in a more timely and cost-effective manner.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, said: “It is vital that we uphold a strict policy concerning the possession of horses and where owners choose to let them graze.

“Illegally tethered horses can present a danger to the public and to the horse itself if it escapes in an area without sufficient security.

“We have worked extensively with partnership agencies, including Northumbria Police, to counteract the number of seizures in this area through enforcement operations and to provide clear instructions and information to owners regarding illegal grazing and tethering of horses.”