Chaos as stray nags corralled in court car park
Roaming horses have caused chaos at Coleraine Courthouse.
A horse and two ponies were yesterday corralled into the court's public car park, which was then sealed with police tape to prevent them from escaping.
Barrister Alan Stewart said the incident caused much debate in the court.
He added: "You wouldn't see this at Laganside Court in Belfast."
Another QC said: "When I first arrived and saw the area sealed off there was so much police tape I thought at first it was a crime scene.
"But then I could see the horses moving about in the distance and it looked like a scene from Cheltenham."
And he joked: "I had to park elsewhere, but wild horses couldn't keep me from court."
A courthouse source said: "We were told the police found the horses wandering on the nearby Mountsandel Road and to keep the public safe this space, the car park, was the nearest area to put them in until they could go back to where they came from."
One man attending court added: "This caused chaos as nobody could get parked and side streets in residential areas were choc-a-bloc."
There were complaints from residents.
One said: "I never saw the like of it.
"There were cars parked on both sides of our road and we could hardly get in and out."
A PSNI spokesman said: "Police responded to a number of calls relating to ponies on the loose in the area of Mountsandel Road in Coleraine yesterday evening, 13 March. The animals were secured in a car park and contact made with the Animal Welfare officer to collect them."
A Northern Ireland Courts Service spokesman added: "The car park at Coleraine Courthouse has been closed as three horses have gained access to it.
"Steps are being taken to have the horses removed, however until they are removed the car park will remain closed.
"Investigations are ongoing to establish how the horses came to be in the car park. It appears that at some stage after the horses entered the car park that PSNI secured the pedestrian exit, to prevent the horses from leaving the area."
A Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council spokeswoman said on Monday: “The Animal Welfare Service is currently investigating a complaint regarding three horses on land adjacent to the courthouse on Mountsandel Road, Coleraine.
"All efforts are being made to reunite the animals with their owners but if these prove unsuccessful, arrangements will be made to take the animals into council care within the next 24 hours.”
It is understood the horses have now been removed from the carpark.