POLICE are investigating reports of attempted pony thefts in West Devon.

Two men have been seen allegedly attempting to seize foals and put them in a black van in the past week. Two men have also been knocking on doors in villages and asking if there are any foals they can have.

Sgt Tom Ottley, of West Devon community policing team, said: “I can confirm there has been a formal crime report of attempted thefts of young foals by two men with a black van. So, we are aware and have informed our patrols, so they can be aware of these alleged incidents. If anyone sees people acting suspiciously in connection with foals they are asked to report them officially, so we have full details.”

Karla Mckechnie, Dartmoor livestock protection officer, said: “There have been several sightings in the area such as Cadover and even as far as Downderry of two men trying to take foals away. We urge anyone who sees anything like this to report to me or to the police.”

In one incident two men were seen carrying a foal towards a black van on Pork Hill between Tavistock and Princetown, yesterday (Monday). When challenged by a member of the public, the men claimed the farmer had sold them the foal. They then drove off.

Karla emphasised that farmers do not sell any animal directly off the land in this way. It is also cruel to take foals this young from their mothers.

Reports can be made to police quoting crime report log number: DA 1771 24 5050-IR01. Anyone seen interfering with ponies is asked to call 999 then call livestock protection on 07873 587561.