12 May 2000

Now, micro-chip tags will keep track of tack

A MICRO-CHIP tagging system, designed to combat the hundreds of thousands of £s worth of equestrian tack and equipment stolen every year, is being launched nationwide by a former pig farmer.

Tack-Track is a national equine equipment register based on electronic tagging of valuable equestrian items.

"Launching Tack-Track now could not be more timely," says Keith Shea, who has set up the parent company IdentiTrack with his brother Chris.

"We are at the start of the horse showing season. A time when equestrian equipment is at greatest risk from being stolen."

Tack-Track, which has the full backing of the police and the Crimestoppers scheme , gives a fail-safe ID to assist in tracing stolen items.

"As well as being expensive a lot of horse equipment has sentimental value. Tack-Track is designed not only to deter theft, but should items be taken the micro-chip identification ensures items retain lifetime traceability," says Mr Shea whose new company is based in St Helens, Merseyside.

A UK network of agents has been set-up who have been trained to insert a tiny micro-chip into saddles or any other tack or harness. Precise details of all tagged items and the micro-chip ID number are then logged into a national database.

Agents will also monitor auction sales of equestrian equipment using a small "ISO" scanner in an on-going campaign to identify any stolen items.

Once an item has been reported to the police and to Tack-Track, the identification number and description is posted on Tack-Tracks web-site (www.tack-track.co.uk).

The item description, along with the identification number, can be matched to the listed item and contact made with Tack-Track via a hot-line number or e-mail. The company then informs the owner of the whereabouts of the located equipment.

&#42 Thief deterrent

All items carrying a Tack-Track micro-chip will also display a small tag as an outward notification of the system to act as a deterrent to thieves. Brightly coloured stickers are also available for tack room windows and horse trailers.

Christine Pollitt, owner of Wrea Green Equestrian Centre in Lancs believes the scheme will have a major impact on equine crime.

"We will be using the Tack-Track system on all the saddles used in our business. Horse tack is very vulnerable, especially during the show season, but I think this will make thieves think twice."

It costs £12.75 +VAT to have a saddle micro-chipped with Tack-Track. And horse owners with NFU Mutual insurance can earn premium reductions when equipment has been micro-chipped.

Jeremy Hunt

For more information, telephone Tack-Track (01744-889889).

Keith Shea (centre) micro-chips a saddle watched by PC Terry Morreau and Christine Pollitt who is having all her equestrian centres saddles tagged.