Horse tack theft rise in Oxfordshire prompts warning
Horse owners in Oxfordshire are being warned to be on their guard following a rise in thefts of equipment.
More than £50,000 worth of saddles, bridles and rugs were found in a raid on a property in the county last month.
Thames Valley Police wants to reunite the items with their rightful owners and is holding an event at Banbury police station throughout the day.
Police said the rise in thefts appeared to be down to criminals "taking advantage of opportunities".
Det Sgt Steve Birchall said: "[The thieves] are going round the areas and taking advantage of the fact that places are left unoccupied or unlocked.
"They take saddles, bridles, blankets and tools as well as electrical equipment such as ride-on-lawnmowers and power tools.
"A saddle ranges in price from relatively cheap to extremely expensive. It can be worth thousands of pounds. The saddles we've got [from the raid] range from about £400 to £800.
"The places where these are generally stored are isolated places, they're not overlooked, not a lot of people work in the yard.
"The stable areas tend to be left unoccupied while people go and exercise their horses."
Dinah Harris, from Thames Valley Horsewatch, which offers advice on security for horse keepers, said ideally saddles should have an engraving with the owner's postcode.
"That means that if it is located, like today when we have a lot of stuff that's been recovered at Banbury police station, it can be returned to the rightful owner," she said.