A dangerous new craze of joy-riding on horseback is sweeping a Bradford estate.

And residents fear the reckless riders could hurt themselves or injure younger children.

Chairman of Fagley tenants and residents' association Bert Beaumont, 75, said the youths mount the horses and ponies, which are left untethered on grass verge at the bottom of Fagley Road towards Bradford Moor, and use makeshift rope bridles to ride them.

When the horses aren't being ridden they roam around the estate without any supervision.

Last Friday, Mr Beaumont had to clear five stray horses which had wondered into the old peoples' complex where he lives in Foston Place, off Fagley Road. And he said the horses covered the area in manure.

Mr Beaumont said: "I suppose you could say they're sort of joy-riding these horses. They're riding them bare-back with a bit of rope as a collar.

"If a young child was coming home from the shops and was hit by one of these horses it could easily lead to serious injury. The thing is nobody seems to have clue who the horses belong to. I'm sure they could be taken away somewhere and advertised to find the owner."

Another pensioner, 78, who lives in Foston Close but did not want to be named, said: "I've seen them many times riding around. Even when it's just the horses on their own there's the muck to clear away when they've gone."

Sergeant Dave Sloman of Eccleshill police said: "We are aware of the problem with stray horses which we get in the Fagley and Bradford Moor areas. We do get calls from time to time about horses which have got out of their tether."

He said there was an offence of wanton and furious riding of a horse on the highway but no specific offences in Fagley had been reported.

Bradford RSPCA inspector Carol Neale said: "I'd be very wary of loose horses on the roads anyway and would certainly not recommend riding them as they could be a danger.

"If the horses are young then they shouldn't be ridden as they can damage their backs and if the rope bridles are tied quite tightly they could hurt the horse.

"Anyone who sees loose horses should contact the police, especially if they think they are being cruelly treated."

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