Volunteers on horseback will be patrolling country lanes in Rutland to help police tackle rural crime.
Rutland’s Mounted Police Community Volunteers will report anything unusual or suspicious they see. It is believed to be the first scheme of its kind in the country.
Dressed in reflective yellow jackets sporting the words Police Community Volunteers, the riders will pay particular attention to speeding and flytipping.
The volunteers will not have any additional powers, other than those held by ordinary individuals.
Rutland police comm-ander, Insp Lou Cordiner, who launched the initiative on Monday, said the idea was based on her own experiences while out riding her 14-year-old black cob Murphy.
“I ride every day and I see so much and the number of times I say to someone ‘did you see that strange car’ and they say ‘yes’ but hadn’t reported it made me think there was merit in this initiative.
“Riders know what’s normal in isolated parts of their countryside.
“They see what people in cars do not see. They ride across the same land regularly and are likely to notice if anything seems out of place. What we are asking them to do is to report it.”
The volunteers will not hold regular patrols but have pledged to report anything that looks suspicious while they are out. They are registered with the police force.
Peter Chojnackie, a civil servant from Oakham, is one of four people to have volunteered already.
He said: “They should roll it out nationally.
“With the cutbacks in the police we realise they need all the help they can get.
“It’s an added reassurance for the community to know that someone will be keeping an eye out and reporting what’s happening.
“It’s our community and our environment so why should we allow anyone to spoil it?”
Dot Munton, of North Luff-enham and daughter Anna, 29, have also volunteered.
Anna said: “We are out riding early in the morning and at different times of the day so we see quite a lot.”
And Janice Foster, a disability support worker from Edith Weston, said: “I was burgled in June. They broke into the stables and took everything. It was not very nice. It cost me a lot of money.
“I would not like it to happen to someone else.”
For more details or to volunteer, call 101 and follow the instructions to leave a message for Insp Cordiner, identification number 4004.