Another stable joins St Albans horse patrol scheme

COMMUNITY Horse Patrols – CHIPS for short – is celebrating after a fifth stable recently joined the scheme which has successfully thwarted fly-tipping in some parts of St Albans.

Coordinator Chris Williams, watch commander for Herts Fire and Rescue, said that CHIPS was introduced as a pilot scheme last year, to help deter anti-social behaviour in the district including arson.

Volunteer riders and their horses patrol rural areas and report incidences of arson and fly-tipping at certain hot spots.

He said: “So far the scheme has proved a success with more than two hundred hours of patrolling logged and several instances of fly-tipping reported.

“We currently have five stables signed up to the scheme and are keen for more.”

CHIPS is run by the county’s fire service in partnership with St Albans district council.

Barley Mow Stables, a riding school on Barley Mow Lane in St Albans, is the fifth stable to join the scheme, which now boasts 23 riders and 21 horses to patrol the district.

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Chris said: “The horses need to be bombproof and not get upset by dogs or pedestrians. You have to be a very competent rider, mainly because we are letting horses out into the public domain, and they are representing the fire service and the district council.”

All patrols are strictly non-confrontational, with riders encouraged to use their “ears and eyes only”.

The pilot scheme has been so successful that it is being rolled out across the county.

Chris said: “The reception to it from the public has been exceptional.”

He added that Barley Mow Lane has experienced problems with both fly-tipping and arson attacks, so he was pleased that the local stable had offered its services to CHIPS.

Chris said: “In two weeks the stables reported five loads of fly-tipping in Barlow Mow Lane.

“We are always keen to hear from other stables too, particularly suitable liveries with a qualified manager within our target hot spot areas.”

Riders are provided with high visibility uniforms, while horses wear chest and tail reflectors.

Support is provided by Herts Fire and Rescue service.

Riders participating in CHIPS use open footpaths and private land where approval has been given by land owners.

Chris said it was great for local riders and stables to, “be able to take an active part in the community and help cut down on crime and arson in the area.”