A POLICE horse who has served for 16 years is retiring next month.

Oakwell, whose stable name is George, is the longest serving horse in the mounted section and has been with South Yorkshire Police since November 2002.

He was born in North Yorkshire on May 8 1996 and named George. When a police horse arrives at the mounted section unit, it is tradition for them to be named after a local town, village or district George was quickly given the name Oakwell.

During his time with the force he has become a familiar face at football grounds across South Yorkshire and the UK, he also supported the policing of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Temporary Police Sergeant David Driver joined the Mounted Section in the same year as Oakwell and says his departure will leave a big hole: “Oakwell, or George as we call the old boy, is part of the furniture at Ring Farm.

"I arrived at the same time as him and we have worked closely together, as colleagues. That is what Police Horses are; they are your colleagues who you build trusting, working relationships with.

“He has been fantastic and deserves to hang up his horseshoes and have a happy retirement after 16 years of hard work and faithful service to the force. He hasn’t put a hoof wrong and has attended hundreds of events and incidents over the years, showing himself to be a first-rate police horse.

"He turns 23 shortly after he leaves us, so he’s definitely ready to retire.”

During his service, Oakwell has gone through 188 sets of horseshoes and eaten his way through 87,600kg of hay; he’s also taken part in 154 training sessions.

He will be rehomed with a charity who will monitor his welfare and the mounted section will continue to receive updates on his progress.

Oakwell’s last shift is planned for Saturday March 30, where he will support policing of the Barnsley versus Coventry match Oakwell Stadium.