A new pilot scheme to deal with stray horses, ponies and donkeys has been introduced in Northamptonshire.
The pilot scheme will mean that when these animals are found straying on public highways or areas where the animal is likely to have immediate access to the highway in the county, officers can deal with their recovery quickly and efficiently.
Horses can be found straying near main roads and routes, either having wandered from safety or been abandoned.
In 2011 the force control room received 370 reports about horses straying from the safety of their fields.
Officers are required to attend to ensure the safety of road users.
This can often be time consuming when the owner or a safe location for the horses cannot be found.
The scheme will allow officers who are unable to find an owner after all lines of enquiry are exhausted to call upon the services of a ‘Greenyard’ who will come and recover the horses and take them to a place of safety.
The horses will be kept for 14 days or until an owner comes forward to claim their animals.
Rural crime officer PC Claire Salmon said: “Stray horses on our roads can be a real danger not only to themselves but to motorists and pedestrians.
“They often get frightened and this can cause accidents on the highways. This is a real concern for us and that is why we have adopted this scheme.
“We expect that this will not only reduce the amount of time officers spend dealing with the incident, but will also increase the safety of members of the public and the stray animals.”