A SECURITY gate scheme could be launched to prevent illegal horses galloping into South Tyneside estates.
Steel gates would be installed to prevent horses being unlawfully tethered in residential areas.
The plan has been revealed after several horses and a pony were left for weeks on the Low Simonside Estate, Jarrow.
Horrified residents and ward councillors raised the alarm after spotting one horse with its leg and mane entangled in barbed wire.
The land, off Stanhope Road, was also badly churned up, only for the animals to be moved to another illegal, council-owned site off Moffat Avenue, on the neighbouring Scotch Estate, Jarrow.
But frustrated town councillors are now bidding for cash to prevent horse owners leaving their animals on town estates.
Coun Arthur Meeks, for the Bede ward, who first alerted the Gazette to the horse invasion, said: “We have already acted, by making sure the gate at the land at Low Simonside is padlocked all the time.
“Then we will have to put the damaged land right.
“We are planning to bid for money to fund steel security gates, to prevent more horses being illegally tethered on pockets of land in Jarrow.
“For example, there is no security gate at Moffat Avenue and we aim to fit a steel gate there.
“Bede ward members are asking for estimates for the cost of fitting steel security gates, which may run into thousands of pounds.
“But if the scheme prevents more horses being illegally tethered and land being ruined, I think it will have been worth it.”
Coun Meeks added that residents at Low Simonside will also be canvassed on how they would like to see the green space near their homes best used.
“If we cannot source the money through Jarrow and Boldon Community Area Forum, we may look at finding the cash as part of a partnership scheme with South Tyneside Homes.
“It won’t be cheap, but we need substantial steel gates to deal with this problem,” Coun Meeks added.
The horses and pony moved from the Scotch Estate are no longer on council-owned land and were due to be checked over by the RSPCA.