Horse owners keep night vigils in Lowestoft

WORRIED horse owners in Oulton and Carlton Colville fear a professional gang could be targeting their pets.

They are so upset about a series of bizarre events – including horses' tails being cut – that they have spent several evenings watching over their stables, amid growing concerns that horse thieves could strike.

Meanwhile, a new network of owners, Waveney Horse Watch, has been set up on the social networking site Facebook after unfamiliar horseboxes were spotted visiting Camps Heath and Carlton Colville in the early hours of the morning.

Police have been informed about several incidents over the past month, and while no crimes have been committed, horse owners in the Lowestoft area were this week urged to be vigilant and ensure that stables and paddocks were secure

One of the owners, Maylisa Pickford, told the Journal that there were genuine fears that horse thieves might be at large. 'We want other horse owners to be aware and we want to warn people as there is too much strange stuff going on. A couple of weeks ago one of our horses' demeanour changed dramatically, to being really scared and aggressive.'

Checks made later on other horses at the stables in Camps Heath only added to concerns. 'We found one with his tail cut, one with a plait in his mane and rugs on the other two were not on as they had been left,' said Ms Pickford.

There was a further report this week of a horse in a neighbouring stables having its tail cut. Following this latest incident, there have been more reports – of voices being heard in the early hours on a field at Oulton, of a van been driven erratically in the area during the early hours, and more attempts to plait horses' manes.

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Mane-plaiting, according to the owners, has been used in the past by thieves as a way of identifying horses before they are stolen

'We've had our horses for more than two years and we don't want to lose them,' Ms Pickford said.

Police spokesman Anne-Marie Breach said there had been no horse thefts reported in the Lowestoft area in recent months. She said. 'If you see anyone acting suspiciously, note their description and the registration of any vehicle they may be using. If you suspect any crime may be in progress always call using 999.'