An animal sanctuary got an extra visitor last week after a loose pony was found roaming the streets of East Lancashire.

In the early hours of Good Friday, Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary’s stables staff got a phone call about a lost pony which had been wandering round Edenfield.

Sheila Linley, head of the stables section, said: “The police came to the sanctuary in the early morning of Good Friday.

“Ian, our night watch, phoned me at 3.30am to go and help to catch the loose pony as he had been reported walking on the roads and wasn’t too far from the bypass. 

“I got to work quickly and the police took me to the pony’s location. He had been secured by three police officers when I arrived. 

“He was very friendly and allowed me to put a headcollar on. I gave him a check over for initial injuries or health problems then we started our walk back to the Sanctuary. 

“It was on this walk that I started to refer to him as ‘Bob’, which was how he’s been known to us at the sanctuary.

“He was clearly well-bred, in good condition and his feet were recently trimmed so we were hoping he was an escapee not a case of being dumped. 

“I settled him in to a stable back at the sanctuary and left him to contemplate his adventures under the watchful eye of Ian. 

“I had scanned him for a microchip but unfortunately the scanner couldn’t pick one up.

“A few hours later, we put a post out on social media to say we had found a pony and we searched horsey groups for anyone saying they had lost a pony of ‘Bob’s’ description. 

“We were starting to lose hope of finding an owner by Tuesday but then a friend of one of our staff members, Grace, was shown a post on Facebook which clearly showed that someone was looking for ‘Bob’.

“I immediately contacted the poster who passed me on to the owner. The owner was over-joyed.

“It turns out that ‘Bob’ is widely shown to county level and a prize winner. 

“All of our staff have fallen in love with him as he’s such a character but we’re so pleased that he’ll be returning to his loving family. 

“It shows again how important places like Bleakholt are to be able to provide refuge and a safe haven for animals like ‘Bob’ and help to return them safely to their owners.”

It is believed ‘Bob’s’ owners went to collect him from Bleakholt on Wednesday evening.