Parents fear for their children’s safety as stray horses run amok

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PEOPLE plagued by stray horses roaming their estate and running through gardens are demanding action before there is a serious accident.

The animals escape from partly-fenced fields on the edge of Newbiggin and run amok at all hours of the day and night.

Residents fear for the safety of small children on the open-plan estate.

Mother-of-two Colette Davison recently had to pull seven youngsters out of the path of several horses and take them to the safety of her home in Latimer Way.

“A child is going to be killed,” said the 32-year-old, a teaching assistant.

Her husband John, 31, an artist, has filmed the horses as they trotted around the roads.

At one point, he saw four ponies, including a mare and foal, grazing on his lawn.

At least two of the mares have foals at foot.

The ownership of the horses is uncertain.

Residents say the horses have been causing them problems for over two years, but appeals to the police, Northumberland County Council and the Bernicia housing association for help have had no effect.

However, a meeting has just been held to seek a solution to the problem.

The British Horse Society’s head of welfare, Lee Hackett, said: “I think this is something that we will definitely look into further, but abandoned horses are incredibly difficult to deal with, particularly when there are large numbers.

“The issue is having somewhere to take them to, and very few, if any, rescue centres have any space at the moment.

“It certainly sounds very worrying. Obviously it’s incredibly worrying if they are able to get on to the road, both for their own safety and for the safety of people in cars because if a car hits a horse, the car doesn’t come away lightly either.

“We are very concerned about the condition of these horses and with the weather forecast about the winter we are to be having, it’s incredibly worrying.”

Bernicia spokesman Stephen Holland said: “We are aware of the issue of untethered horses on the Latimer Way estate and are working closely with the police and the county council to tackle the problem and encourage responsible horse ownership in the neighbourhood.

“Together we are developing a clear message that owners are responsible for keeping their horses secure and will face consequences for failing to do so.”

Care worker Emma Armstrong, mother of David, nine, and Charlotte, four, said: “You’re frightened to let your children out of the door because you never know when the horses are going to come around.

“One day they were kicking their legs up, going absolutely crazy. Charlotte’s only four, and she was screaming.

“I think if one of the little ones had got in the way of them that time, they would have been killed.

“If we got a fence around, we wouldn’t be so worried because the kids would be safer.

Tom and Ada Hewitson, both 79, are equally concerned.

She said: “It’s dangerous for the children.”

Her husband added: “The horses flying about here, you’ve no idea.

“It’s like the Wild West, and somebody’s going to get hurt.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “Our welfare officer has been there a number of times, and we are trying to resolve it with other agencies.

“There will be a meeting next Thursday with our neighbourhood services, animal welfare and legal departments to look into what can be done with regard to the land.

A police spokesman added: “Ongoing actions include identifying possible owners of the horses and looking into the legal rights around the moving of horses.”