Leeds & West Yorkshire

'Drone may have spooked' police horse Fimber before he died

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Media captionCCTV footage has been released of the moment a police horse may have been spooked by a drone before his death.

A police horse may have been spooked by a drone before his death, West Yorkshire Police have said.

Fimber, 14, died after an incident at Carr Gate police headquarters near Wakefield on 15 October.

CCTV footage showed the horse, who had been with the force for 11 years, looking "spooked" in the paddock before vaulting a fence and colliding with a wooden post.

Police have appealed to the owner of a drone found nearby to come forward.

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Officers are now investigating the possibility that Fimber's death was linked to a radio-controlled drone found nearby a few days later by the crew of a police helicopter as it came in to land.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Fimber had 11 years of experience as a police horse and was used to loud noises

The drone is a widely-available model, the Walkera Runner 250. Measuring about nine inches (27cm) long, they cost about £200.

Det Supt Simon Atkinson said: "There is a possibility that Fimber was reacting to the drone landing nearby or being close to him.

"We know he was used to the helicopter taking off and landing nearby and by the nature of his training would be used to loud noises.

"This tends to suggest it was something unusual that caused him to react."

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption The drone found nearby was a Walkera Runner 250

"I appreciate that radio-controlled drones are becoming increasingly popular and I am not wanting to detract from the pleasure people get from flying them," he added.

"Clearly flying one near to an operational police location such as Carr Gate, where the helicopter is regularly taking off and landing, is not appropriate and could have very serious consequences.

"I want to appeal directly to the owner of the drone to come forward so that we can bring this matter to a conclusion."

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