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Humberside woman to be sentenced for horse theft


12:01am 19th March 2012
(Updated 1:41pm 20th March 2012)

A Humberside women is going to jail for horse theft and fraud.

43 year old Deborah Cooper from Brough pleaded guilty to borrowing a horse from a woman in Carlton and selling it on without her concent.

The animal was discovered on a farm in the York, where it had been purchased for 12 hundred pounds.

At her sentencing today, Ms Cooper has been told she will spend 12 months behind bars.

Background information to case

43-year-old Deborah Louise Cooper of Broomfleet, Brough, Humberside has today (Tuesday 20 March 2012) been jailed for 12 months at York Crown Court for theft of a horse and fraud by false representation.

Cooper pleaded guilty to the two offences on 15 February 2012.

The offences arose after Cooper was loaned a piebald cob mare called Saska by her owner, a woman from the Carlton area near Selby. The loan included an option to purchase the horse at the end of the loan period.

It is common practice for horse owners who are looking to sell their animals to draw up an agreement to loan the horse for period of time with an option to sell at the end of the loan period.  

The loan agreement for Saska ended on 30 November 2010, however no payment was made to Saska’s owner, nor was she returned to her owner.

Subsequent police enquiries led to the discovery of Saska at a farm in the York area in February 2011, the owner of the farm had purchased Saska from Deborah Cooper for £1,200.

Saska was immediately returned to her rightful owner and Cooper was arrested in March 2011 for fraud by false representation and the theft of the horse.

Speaking today following Cooper’s sentencing, the Rural Crime Officer who led the case, PC Sarah Ward said:

“We are very pleased with today’s outcome which reflects how seriously the criminal justice system takes this type of crime.

“Although there are not many cases of this nature in North Yorkshire, it happens regularly across the country and I would like to raise awareness among horse owners who need to be vigilant about who they loan their animals to.  

“Before you consider loaning out your horse, you must do your homework on the borrower’s background as well as keeping track of your horses while they are on loan.

“The British Horse Society have a loan agreement form on their website which should always be filled in and signed by both parties. Also check where the horse is going, visit the yard, do background checks on the borrower by speaking to other professionals such as their vet, farrier and feed supplier.

“Owners should visit the borrower on a monthly basis and make sure they see the animal and carry out a welfare check.  

“Make sure you have up to date photos of your horse, these can be vital if your horse goes missing. Not only is this type crime costly, but it is also distressing for the owner when a much-loved animal goes missing”.

The British Horse Society website contains useful information which all horse owners should read if they are contemplating any loan agreement. Click here


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