Move over boyracers – are pony and trap riders the new wheeled menace in Sunderland?

Pony & trap on A183 Chester Road, near junction with Foxcover Lane.
Pony & trap on A183 Chester Road, near junction with Foxcover Lane.
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PONY and trap riders are turning the city’s streets into a racing track, residents have warned.

People in Ford Estate said the problem that has plagued roads in the area peaked at the weekend when horses, ponies and traps, caravans and wagons descended on grassland opposite the cemetery in Hylton Road.

Damage done to the grass on Hylton Road opposite the cemetery by the recent spate of pony and trap racers.

Damage done to the grass on Hylton Road opposite the cemetery by the recent spate of pony and trap racers.

Many residents have raised concerns over children as young as 10 being in control of pony and traps, racing down busy roads. They say horses are mounting pavements and they have raised fears over animals being mistreated.

Kaylee Dawson, of Hylton Road, said: “It was absolutely crazy up here at the weekend. They were all piling on to the grass as well as clogging up the roads.

“It was full of wagons, caravans, trailers, traps.

“I don’t mind them gathering, but why do it in a residential area?”

Damage done to the grass on Hylton Road opposite the cemetery by the recent spate of pony and trap racers.

Damage done to the grass on Hylton Road opposite the cemetery by the recent spate of pony and trap racers.

The 24-year-old added: “Some of them shouldn’t be allowed on the roads. They’re a law unto themselves.

“Some horses were cantering up the road even though there were cars driving along. The riders didn’t seem to care.”

One man, who also lives on Hylton Road, said he watched on in horror with his grand-daughter as two men beat a horse with sticks after it became spooked by a passing car and reared onto its hind legs.

Another said his wife came home “terrified” after a pony and trap mounted the pavement as she walked along Hylton Road pushing a pram with a young child.

“She said she could feel the horse’s breath on the back of her neck it was that close,” said the man, who does not want to be named.

“It was absolute mayhem there and someone is going to get seriously hurt one of these days.

“They don’t seem to have a care in the world and go around as if they own the roads.”

Northumbria Police said the gathering was for an annual Ride Round that takes place in Pennywell every year.

They said they had received a number of complaints about traffic, but no criminal offences were reported to have taken place.

Mum-of-two Sarah Rowlands, 23, of St Luke’s Road, said: “They’re constantly riding up and down here on the traps and it’s often really young people.

“They don’t know how to control the animals and it’s really dangerous.

“I won’t let my kids play in the front garden because of it.”

Scott McCandle, 36, of Hylton Road, added: “I’ve seen them race along St Luke’s Road before and they’re an absolute menace.”

An AA spokesman said pony and traps riders do not need insurance or a licence to use them on the roads.

In May, a runaway horse caused mayhem as it went on the rampage before smashing into a car window.

The animal and trap sparked chaos after it threw its 62-year-old rider – who lost a finger in the incident – in Thorney Close and galloped to East Herrington.

It ran to Durham Road, near the Board Inn pub, before smashing through the back window of the Ford Focus, which had a seven-year-old girl inside, in Crow Lane.

The youngster, whose mother was driving, was showered in glass during the terrifying ordeal.

Twitter: @sunechochief