FIVE horses have been left abandoned in a New Forest field, relying on the kindness of nearby residents to keep them alive.

The RPSCA have appealed to the public to help them track down those responsible for leaving the horses on private farmland in Lymington.

Left there for an unknown period of time, residents were feeding the horses, knowing that the land they were on was not suitable. Eventually, they became so concerned that they contacted the animal welfare charity.

Now, the organisation wants to track down who left them in the field, which had no other livestock in.

Inspector Patrick Bailey said: "We would urge anyone with information regarding these horses to contact the RSPCA through our inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

"These horses had to be removed after a vet confirmed their needs were not being met.

"We also urge people to seriously think about the commitment involved in caring for horses as this sadly happens far too often."

The welfare organisation said horses in the New Forest, and elsewhere in rural parts of Hampshire, was becoming a "big problem."

Inspector Bailey added: "The RSPCA and other equine welfare charities have been picking up the pieces of the ongoing horse crisis for many years, rescuing sick and injured horses who have been left without appropriate care."

The horses are now being looked after by the charity's equine foster carers after members of the public reported the horses, who were not left in an unhealthy way, nor harmed.

The charity also said that residents had been feeding the horses before reporting the five, who were then visited by members of the RSPCA to determine their welfare.