Thieves strip foals of winter coats

Callous thieves have repeatedly targeted a field of rescue horses – stealing their winter rugs off their backs in bitter weather.

The five animals, one horse, two ponies and two foals which are kept in a field beside the Stevenage Road in Knebworth have been stripped of their protective coats on three separate occasions over the past three weeks.

Brenda Lugg of Burydale in Stevenage who owns the horse and took on the other animals when their owners could no longer do so, said the thefts have cost her around �800 and left the animals in danger.

“They need to be kept warm. Someone who could do that to foals – I just don’t understand it.

“The Exmoor pony has become very subdued. There’s definitely been a change in her mannerisms. She goes right back up the field now.”

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The last theft took place on Sunday in broad daylight, despite Mrs Lugg securing the rugs with cable ties.

“They are quite difficult to untie. They must have taken their time to do it. I’m mortified that they could leave them without rugs.”

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“I don’t know what’s going to happen to them. Every time I put more rugs on they go.”

She has resorted to painting undercoat and her postcode on the rugs in large letters and urged anyone who can help catch the thieves to call the police.

A Herts police spokesman asked anyone who has seen suspicious activity in the field to call the non-emergency number, 101. She added: “We would remind owners of horses in the area to be extra vigilant, ensure their stables and fields are secure where possible and report any suspicious incidents to police.”

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