HORSE owners are being warned to remove their animals if they are grazing illegally on council land.
Hartlepool Borough Council has received reports of a number of the animals being kept on their land throughout the town.
It is thought more than 20 horses could be grazing on council land.
The authority has issued the warning following concerns about the animal welfare and the risk they pose to members of the public.
Horses have been spotted grazing on council land in West View, the Central Estate, Brenda Road, Golden Flatts and Seaton Carew, in the town.
Dave Stubbs, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said: “The illegal grazing of horses is a recurring problem in Hartlepool and from time to time we do have to take action to protect the horses and the public.
“In the past we have had situations when horses have broken loose from their tether and other examples when they have been under-nourished.
“Over the next couple of weeks we will be stepping up our surveillance so we urge any horse owner to remove their horse if it is grazing illegally. If they fail to do so the council will remove the animals.”
Before the council remove any horse they will evict a seven-day eviction notice.
If the animal is still not removed it will be taken to a safe location.
The owners will they have to pay a fee to have their horses returned, but if they do not cough up, the animals will be sold at an auction,
Horse owners requiring further information or anyone wanting to report a tethered horse should call (01429) 523227 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org