Police warning after

SUFFOLK'S vast equine community is being warned a "horse ripper" could be at large in Suffolk after a bizarre sexual attack.Police are warning horse owners to be vigilant after a five-year-old mare was brutally attacked with a fence post in a stable at Brandon.

SUFFOLK'S vast equine community is being warned a "horse ripper" could be at large in Suffolk after a bizarre sexual attack.

Police are warning horse owners to be vigilant after a five-year-old mare was brutally attacked with a fence post in a stable at Brandon.

The incident, which has been described as a "despicable offence", happened at stables in the town's Chalk Road between 6.00pm on Monday and 6.30am the following day.

During the course of the night someone broke into the stable block and inserted a fence post into the horse's vagina, causing internal injuries.


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The owner of the horse, who does not want to be identified, was said to be extremely upset by the incident, but although the horse required veterinary treatment it is expected to make a full recovery.

For decades investigators have been baffled by violent and sexual attacks on horses, known as "horse ripping", and there has been some suggestion that they may be linked to occult or black magic practices.

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But Suffolk police last night told the EADT there is no evidence to suggest that is the case in this instance.

A force spokesman said: "This is a despicable and unacceptable offence that will not be tolerated by Suffolk police.

"We will be doing everything we can within our power to apprehend the offender and deal with them appropriately.

"The owner is extremely distressed by the incident and they are appealing for other horse owners to be vigilant and report any incident of a suspicious nature using the 999 system."

While police said this was the first attack of its type in the county, the International League for the Protection of Horses' (ILPH) Norfolk headquarters at Snetterton has been targeted in the past, with one of its own horses attacked with a knife.

ILPH field officer Ted Barnes, who for 20 years investigated equine crime at Scotland Yard, said sexual attacks on horses had been known to have occurred "since time began", and while there were sinister aspects to many incidents he had never seen any direct link to occult practice.

He added: "In a high proportion of incidents there tends to be a logical explanation and many injuries turn out to be self inflicted, but otherwise these things usually fall into one of three categories, firstly someone pursuing a vendetta against the horse's owner.

"Secondly, what is effectively criminal damage caused by mindless people who have no idea of the suffering they are causing, or there are the more sinister cases involving sexual deviants."

Elsewhere in the country, crimes against horses are becoming extremely common, with three attacks in Yorkshire in the space of three months earlier this year.

Attacks vary from slashing and stabbing, to draining of blood, removal of tails and plaiting manes in intricate patterns indicative of occult practice, and five pointed stars laid out in stones have been found near some of the attacks.

Evidence also shows an increase of attacks both in the run up to the summer solstice and Halloween, with a further 12 incidents reported along the Derbyshire/Yorkshire border.

The police's Comnet system has been employed, which automatically telephones registered farmers, landowners and stables to warn them of particular incidents.

Anyone who has any information relating to the attack should contact Pc David Basham on 01284 774100.

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