A new police scheme which will see horse riders acting as the eyes and ears for police, has been launched in Mid Sussex, with 18 volunteers.
The pilot scheme, in Mid Sussex, was launched on Thursday (August 27) with the help of Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne and Chief Constable Giles York.
PCC Bourne presented a cheque for the scheme’s grant of £3,247 to Sgt Isobel Lee, who will run the scheme.
PS Isobel Lee, said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by the level of interest in the scheme.
“We were really happy with the turn out. I couldn’t have hand picked a better group of volunteers.
“My email inbox is full of people wanting to get involved in other areas.”
The pilot scheme will initially cover Bolney, Warninglid, Twineham, Hickstead, Albourne, Pyecombe, Poynings, Fulking, Hurspierpoint, Sayers Common and Hassocks.
The scheme will work alongside Farm Watch, to provide the volunteers with information around suspicious persons, vehicles and activities and what to look out for and to report back.
PS Isobel Lee added: “We’ve designed the kit and sorted the paper work so to get people signed up for it is quite easy now, I just need the funding.”
The volunteers’ ages range from 27 to 63 and the group includes a barrister, school teachers, a doctor and a retired driving instructor.
Volunteers include Michelle Rueff, who rides in Burgess Hill, Ditchling and Chailey.
She said: “I’d like to help the local community feel safer and our yard has been broken into a couple of times and I would have liked something like this around at the time as it could have been useful.
Barrister Becky Davies, who will be able to watch over Burgess Hill and Hurstpierpoint, said: “My main passion outside of the law is riding my horse so being an Equine Ranger would combine both of my main interests in life.”
Linda McDonnell, who rides in Hickstead, Sayers Common, Twineham and Albourne, said: “I think this is a valuable addition to ears and eyes in our local area I am able to access areas that a cars cannot. I know my area very well and am able to see something that is amiss.The Equine Rangers are such a good idea.”
Rachel Williams, who will cover the areas of Clayton and Pyecombe, said: “I ride out most days (weather permitting), I work shift work which gives me different times of the day to ride. Best place to be out riding in our countryside, and if I can also be of help whilst doing something I love, then all the better.”