An unusual intervention took place in the Polish town of Wejherowo, where the police were called out in response to a man leading a horse up the staircase of an apartment block. The suspect has been arrested and could now face up to five years in prison for stealing the animal.

The horse thief was stopped by a bystander who noticed the unusual situation. A spokesperson for the local police told Notes from Poland that the bystander then notified the authorities and kept hold of the horse until their arrival, preventing the thief from taking the animal to higher floors of the building. The thief meanwhile fled the scene.

“The man [the bystander] had the horse secured with him, while the perpetrator returned to the scene after a while and was apprehended by police,” an officer, Anetta Potrykus, told broadcaster TVN.

It was later established that the 19-year-old had stolen the mare – which is worth 15,000 zloty (€3,500) – from a local stud. “He lives on the third floor so he tried to get to the third floor with this horse,” a resident of the block told TVN.

The perpetrator, described by the resident as “problematic”, had allegedly been seen around the stable before and had already tried to steal a horse in the past. If found guilty, he could face a jail sentence of up to five years.

The situation is not without consequences for the mare, too. Even though the animal was returned to its owner, it was described as “traumatised” by her partner. “The situation was too tense for it. It will have a long way to go before getting better,” he told TVN.