Worried! Should we be?

rascal

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On Saturday when hubby and one of my daughters went to the horses field, the top rail on the metal gate was sprayed in yellow paint!
The owner of the field got it off, but it must have been some kind of marker. We did of course notify the Police. We spent most of the night there with the car hidden behind some handy bushes. Not sure if they are they after the horses (most of them are freezemarked) or the electric fencing that's about all that is there.
 

chillipup

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Sounds very suspicious. The only other thing I could think of was if water authority need to mark when locating drains? but they usually mark on ground.(or identifying road surface problems) Are there any drains near the gate? Is the gate on a road?
 

FfionWinnie

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it is not for them, they mark for others to find "whatever it is they are nicking".....I would say look out for your electric fencing and battery!!
You should always secure energisers as much as possible.

I still fail to see the benefit of a thief advanced warning system.

If anything, I could believe it could be to check how often the animals were checked but I still think there are more subtle ways so I doubt that too.
 

Goldenstar

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I'd love to know why a thief would give prior notice they were going to steal something.
That's what I always think when I hear these stories .
However I once heard from a good source a weird story about plaited manes .
Usual thing coloured horses found with plaits in the manes ,person who told me the story said they where defiantly plaits held with a knot at the end .
Horses where in a field away from the yard but very regularly checked .
Owners got all the horses freeze branded within twenty fours hours ( they where already coming to nearby ) horses where returned to field ,a day later they where found with human poo smeared in their manes ! Gross obviously but what was that about .
Police surmised they where singled out for theft and smeared with poo for revenge .
 

rowan666

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I'd love to know why a thief would give prior notice they were going to steal something.
me too! it's like the gypsy wind knots and marking gates where dogs live etc, have these ever been proved to have been genuinely used at any point!? baffles me why anyone would be so stupid!

OP I would agree with others that have said it's most likely local authority/water/gas/electricity board etc but I too would have panicked as they should not be marking a privately owned fence but the ground also they probobly should have left a warning letter if there is no house there to speak directly to someone but IME they rarely do
 

WelshD

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I think in these days of Google Earth and camera phone it would be incedible if people relied on such methods of spray paint and run the risk of putting someone on high alert like this but I doubt that's much consolation
 
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rascal

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Staffordshire Police have just called us and they do seem to think the paint was some kind of marker! Im not going to give any other details about where they are, for obvious reasons. But any one in Staffordshire please take care.
 

ycbm

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Staffordshire Police have just called us and they do seem to think the paint was some kind of marker! Im not going to give any other details about where they are, for obvious reasons. But any one in Staffordshire please take care.
The problem the police have is that they can't tell you that there is no way that it can be a marker for theft. They have to tell you that it might be, otherwise if you coincidentally get something nicked, you'll sue them for getting it wrong.

This is why these 'marked for theft' urban myths continue to go round and round.

In your own case, surely it would have made far more sense to have put some symbol on the road that you would have mistaken for council roadworks pre-marking, instead of putting you on your guard by painting the gate?

I think it's nice of you to warn people, though :)
 
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OWLIE185

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Get each of the horses Freezemarked and Microchipped and take photos of them from each side so that if they go missing the photos and description can be immediately circulated.
I would also be tempted to move the horses elsewhere for a while.
Make sure gates are locked with a heavy duty lock and toughened anchor chain and the hinges reversed so that the gate can not be simply lifted off the hinges.
 

mcnaughty

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Human poo and mane plaiting! Good god. Could it possibly have been wind and fox crap? The urban myths really wind me up what a complete load of tosh. Why on earth would a thief put a potential victim on high alert? Hardly playing on the element of surprise is it. There has been a whole load of rubbish on facebook recently about thieves marking walls with chalk. Anyone ever heard of notepad, paper and a house number?
 

Orca

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Horsewatch say marking a field is part of theft tactics. Aside from what the OP has said, why doubt it?

I've never in my life seen road repairs marked anywhere other than on the road and the only over ground marking I have seen was by the water board, in blue.

I agree with OWLIE's advice 100%. In fact, I'd bring my horse in if if at all possible or put my tent up and stay in it with my dogs! Some horses were attacked in their field not far from me last year - I'd take no chances over my own horses safety.
 

applecart14

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On the same lines as Owlie - I would put some "These horses have been freezemarked" signs up and the horses that haven't been marked, paint some imaginary freezemark numbers on their rugs. Potential thieves will just steer clear, they won't bother checking whether they have been marked or not by taking their rugs off.

I would hang your gate hinge upside down so they can't just take off the gate and double lock it with strong reinforced chain.

I'd also think about getting a security light that will come on when someone is stood near the gate just in case.
 

ycbm

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Horsewatch say marking a field is part of theft tactics. Aside from what the OP has said, why doubt it?
Because afaik there has not been a single documented case where a horse is missing from a field and the markings which identify the field have been published so that other people can learn from them what to watch out for. Not on this forum, anyway.

And because why would anyone warn the owners this way when they can simply give their partners in crime the gps location to plug into their mobile phone?


There are only actually tiny numbers of horses stolen by strangers, as a look at the horsewatch site will show. It's devastating, of course, to anyone it happens to, but it bears no relation to the number of reports of horses and fields 'marked for theft' which cause a huge amount of completely unnecessary worry.
 
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WelshD

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Because afaik there has not been a single documented case where a horse is missing from a field and the markings which identify the field have been published so that other people can learn from them what to watch out for. Not on this forum, anyway.

And because why would anyone warn the owners this way when they can simply give their partners in crime the gps location to plug into their mobile phone?


There are only actually tiny numbers of horses stolen by strangers, as a look at the horsewatch site will show. It's devastating, of course, to anyone it happens to, but it bears no relation to the number of reports of horses and fields 'marked for theft' which cause a huge amount of completely unnecessary worry.

the voice of reason. some groups (which include some police forces) have been less than scrupulous when happily passing on warnings, how many times have you seen online a 'marking' situation where something actually happened to the horse? I cant think of a single one and I'm pretty active across horsey groups

Its like the mutilations and killings of equines that apparently happen, many of those can be explained by natural occurrences and others are clearly a grudge situation against the owner
 

fatpiggy

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Horsewatch say marking a field is part of theft tactics. Aside from what the OP has said, why doubt it?

I've never in my life seen road repairs marked anywhere other than on the road and the only over ground marking I have seen was by the water board, in blue.

I agree with OWLIE's advice 100%. In fact, I'd bring my horse in if if at all possible or put my tent up and stay in it with my dogs! Some horses were attacked in their field not far from me last year - I'd take no chances over my own horses safety.

I was thinking utilities actually. Gas pipeline routes are often marked in yellow or orange so that they can be seen from helicopters (apparently). I would have thought a would-be thief would have marked the gate much more discreetly than painting the top bar bright yellow. OP, it could have just been some stupid teenagers out aerosol sniffing and decided to do it for a laugh. One Christmas I was staying at my mum's - the cul de sac is entirely populated by elderly people apart from her immediate neighbours which is let to a youngish family and mum, who is a VERY good judge of people said they seem very pleasant, kids are polite etc. For my entire stay bar one night my car was parked on mum's drive but the night before I was due to leave, I decided it was easier to leave it outside on the road so put it on the bit between mum's gateway and that of the neighbour. When I came out in the morning to load my bags someone had sprayed a wavy line all across the rear hatch door with silver paint. Given that no-one had been having rowdy New Years parties and the age of the neighbours, plus there is not even pedestrian access through the top of the cul de sac, it was a complete mystery. However, our best guess is, believe it or not the oldish wife of the couple on the other side who mum says is a right nasty piece of work and has had a go at her before for leaving her car in the same spot. I suspect she thinks it brings down the tone of the road although she claims it makes access to her gateway hard (she has the widest gateway and broadest drive of all the houses and there is plenty of room even if there is a car on the road).
 
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