Calls for action over horses running loose

Horses roam free around Bryn Gates playing fields, off Bolton Road, Bamfurlong - with signs warning 'no fly grazing'
Horses roam free around Bryn Gates playing fields, off Bolton Road, Bamfurlong - with signs warning 'no fly grazing'

Fed-up residents are demanding action to stop roaming horses causing chaos on roads and public land.

People living along Bolton Road in Bamfurlong say the selfish owners of the horses have been grazing them on play areas while blatantly ignoring Wigan Council’s warning signs and allowing them to run along the busy routes.

They say this has already led to one serious incident in which a young animal had to be put to sleep following an early-morning collision with a lorry.

A further two incidents are alleged to have occurred in the past week with cars being damaged by animals taking flight suddenly and unpredictably in residential areas.

Responsible horse owners keeping their animals at a nearby farm say they are appalled by what is going on and wants the police, council and RSPCA to step in and come up with a plan of action between them.

One concerned equestrian enthusiast, who asked not to be named, said: “People are buying the horses and turning them loose on the land.

“They’ve been on the playing fields near here for about four days now despite the fact there are no fly-grazing signs there. The owners just don’t care about that.

“One lady also said the horses came blasting up the alleyway and a car was damaged. The road is ridiculous for traffic anyway.

“This has been going on for months now. The authorities have been told and everybody’s in uproar but nothing is being done.”

The residents allege the incident involving a truck happened between 3am and 5am on either Friday July 21 or Saturday July 22 and claim the police, the RSPCA and a vet were all called to the scene to deal with the badly-injured colt.

However, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said they could find no record of such an incident on the official log.

Penny McGinty, assistant director for contracts and assets at Wigan Council, said: “The council is well aware of the problem of horses wandering along Bolton Road and grazing without permission on the playing field at Bryn Gates, and shares the residents’ frustration at the irresponsible behaviour of the horse owners which is causing a nuisance and is a danger to both the public and the horses.

“This repeated failure to secure horses results in extra costs to taxpayers as a consequence of the actions needed to seize the horses.

“The council has powers, under The Control of Horses Act 2015, to seize horses which are on its land without permission or are on land open to the public.

“Over the past 15 months the council has used these powers to instruct equine bailiffs to seize 16 horses that were on council land or on the highway.

“Currently the council is having to review its bailiff contract and once a provider is in place will arrange a new seizure operation.

“The council is also taking measures to horse-proof its vulnerable land, such as the playing field at Bryn gates, by erecting fencing where it is feasible to do so to prevent access by horses.”

A horse owner can also be liable in the tort of nuisance where if they let horses escape onto a neighbour’s property. If an owner fails to keep horses properly secured and allows them to roam freely, they are responsible for any damage caused to property.