WOULD-be horse rustlers failed in a bid to steal two ponies — after cutting a metal fence around a Blackrod field.

The alarm was raised by a resident who discovered the Welsh ponies, Ellie and Pip, on a public footpath in Blackrod.

Owner Andrea Peet, aged 42, initially thought the horses had escaped after someone opened a gate to the field, off the Blackrod bypass.

But she was shocked to learn someone had cut the fencing in two places in a bid to steal the animals.

Mrs Peet, a cleaner and farmer, from Brindle, Chorley, said: “When I found out I was annoyed as I thought they had been let out, but I was shocked when I found out the fence had been cut. You don’t expect it to happen.

"I have never had any problem like this before.

“I try to leave the head collars off the horses, and if they had been on it would have been easier for people to take them. The cobs are a bit cautious with people so they have probably not wanted to go.”

Mrs Peet kept the horses on about four acres of land, which is owned by her parents Ian and Eileen McCarthy.

She has now moved Ellie, a Welsh section D cob, aged two, and Pip, a Welsh cross cob, aged three, to another location.

The attempted theft is thought to have happened between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

Mrs Peet added: “I feel more sorry for owners of horses that do get stolen because of where the horses might end up.

"If they had been stolen and sold on they would have eventually turned up as they are microchipped.”

She said that someone pressed the intercom of her parents’ home on Tuesday asking whether anyone wanted to buy tools.

The person was in a blue van but did not knock on the front door.

Insp Wayne Readfern, of Bolton North Neighbourhood Policing Team, warned residents to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity such as vehicles seen near to fields or people making inquiries about land to farm owners.

He said horse rustling and similar crimes are most frequently reported during spring.

Anyone with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.