WARNINGS of suspicious activity have been reported in the Marchington area by an online equine watch and horse owners are being urged to stay alert.
Staffordshire Horsewatch, a police-run body which aims to reduce equine theft, reported tape tied to gates between Marchington and Draycott-in-the-Clay, a signal thought to be shared between horse thieves to ‘mark’ the spot for a theft.
A spokesman for Staffordshire Horsewatch said: “In the Marchington and Draycott in the Clay area this evening there has been some tape tied to a gate where there is both equine and plant equipment kept.
“Anyone who has any information should please call 101, with the serial number SP-20140209-0688.
“Please make sure you report anything suspicous as minor as it may appear, it may lead to something major.”
Jane Bell said via Facebook: “Clearly it’s to identify the place for somebody arriving later on to ‘remove’ the said equipment.”
A spokesman for UK Horsewatch said: “Known tactics of horse thieves include monitoring your daily routine over a number of weeks to identify the best time to get in.
“Markers may be placed around the perimeter of your land, for instance plastic bags tied to the fence or road markings similar to those sprayed on the road by highway repair authorities.
“Gates may be loosened, so hinges and bolts should be checked regularly.
“Exits will be planned days in advance, to avoid neighbours and noisy dogs, and fencing may be cut and rejoined to give the appearance that all is well.”
The UK horsewatch also advised horse owners to change their routine regularly and be aware of strangers in their yards or fields.
It was recommended to report suspicious encounters to Staffordshire Horsewatch as soon as possible.
Those wishing to keep up to date with happenings in the area for Staffordshire should ‘like’ Staffordshire Horsewatch on Facebook.
The watch is run by PCSO Lucy Hadfield of Staffordshire Police.
The group was formed following some horrific attacks on horses in other parts of the country and also a general increase in horse related crime, such as tack and horse trailers being stolen.
The aims of Horsewatch are to encourage all owners to protect their own animals and property, to help foster a community spirit among equine enthusiasts and to encourage every owner to make their animals and property identifiable. Further information is at: www.ukhorsewatch.org.uk