HORSE owners are being urged to stay away from Worcester - amid concerns parts of the city's landscape is being increasingly damaged by them.

Councillor Stephen Hodgson says Warndon villages is suffering repeated incidents of so-called 'fly grazing'.

It comes three weeks after Worcester City Council had to impound horses on grassland along Wainwright Road after concerned calls from the public.

Cllr Hodgson, who represents the area, said fly grazing has been an issue in Warndon Villages for around two years.

He is calling for a fresh protocol to be created to sort it out "once and for all".

He said: "They've sometimes been here for weeks on end and in those cases, it's not good for the grass verges or the animals either.

"They are taking advantage of the number of green spaces in Warndon Villages.

"I've seen them on part of the land between Newark Green and Stafford Avenue, and on a piece of land in Hastings Drive they've encroached into residential areas."

Cllr Hodgson also raised it during a full council meeting, saying householders have been concerned about horse welfare and the impact on verges.

Councillor Adrian Gregson, city council leader, said fly grazing was an issue "around the country".

He said: "The horses were removed by experienced equine contractors.

"I share his concern, but the health and well-being of the horses ought to be the priority."

The city council authorised an external company, Equine and Land Management, to remove the animals under the Animals Act 1971 three weeks ago.

At the time the authority said there were fears they could stray into the road, as well as concerns over their health. Part of the problem with moving them on is because many parcels of land attractive to horse owners are in private ownership, rather than the council.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, who also represents part of Warndon Villages, said: "It's one of those things that doesn't seem that big, but it is annoying.

"I know it's been an issue at Smite too. It's a bit like when gypsies camp at the roadside.

"We need to get a protocol in place and work together with the city and county (councils) on this."