A member of the police force said it was 'totally inappropriate' to fly drones near sites such as Fimber's paddock

Police searching for owner of drone that killed horse

Police are appealing for more information following the death of a horse that vaulted the fence of its paddock after being frightened by a drone.

Fimber, a 14-year-old horse that joined West Yorkshire Police in 2004, died from injuries following a collision with a wooden post after appearing to be spooked.

Officers later discovered a radio-controlled drone at the site near Wakefield after it was spotted by a police helicopter crew.

Detective superintendent Simon Atkinson said: "We have reviewed CCTV footage which shows Fimber bolting seemingly in reaction to something nearby. This resulted in him being seriously injured and led to his death. We cannot discount that this drone was involved.

"There is a possibility that Fimber was reacting to the drone landing nearby or being close to him when he bolted with tragic consequences.

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

"I am very keen to hear from anyone who has any information that could assist us in tracing the owner of this drone."

The drone in question was a model called the Walkera Runner 250, which costs about £200, and can be easily purchased on the Internet.

Ministers are considering tightening laws on drone use after a number of near misses with aircraft.

The US is also gearing up to launch a drone registration system that anyone who owns one of the unmanned vehicles will be obliged to sign up to.

Atkinson said that although he did not want to prevent people from flying drones as a pastime, flying them next to a site such as that which contained Fimber’s paddock was ‘totally inappropriate’.

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

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