A public campaign to protect more than a dozen abandoned ponies in Yateley has ended in tears.

The last four ponies that were being fed, watered and looked after by a passionate group of animal lovers, were taken at around 4pm on Monday (February 25).

It is unknown who took the remaining ponies from the muddy field off Moulsham Lane, but campaigners who have been working around the clock for nearly a month to keep them alive, are concerned they could be at further risk.

A Yateley horse lover who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The sad thing is that they would have been removed this morning (Tuesday) by the RSPCA and joined the previous six in foster care while they received proper veterinary care and rehabilitation before being responsibly re-homed.

“Now who knows where they will end up?

“Maybe the person that took them is genuine or maybe they have another motive I don’t know as I don’t know them."

At the beginning of the month there were 14 ponies on the site.

One died on February 4 and six were removed by the RSPCA on February 11 because they were in a poor state.

It is believed that the owners took three further ponies the following week during the night.

It is unknown who owns the ponies but the land had been ‘fly-grazed’ for months without consent.

Following the heavy rainfall, the ponies had no grass to feed on, no shelter and were caked in mud.

Campaigners shared their concerns and photos of the ponies to thousands of people via social networking websites.

Volunteers ensured the ponies had sufficient hay and water and took it in turns to observe the condition of the animals.

The RSPCA monitored the horses since it was first made aware of them.

The animal charity could only remove the animals when the law allowed them to do so, but following the vast number of concerns raised, officers made regular visits to check on them.

Last week the landowner served an eviction notice for the owners to remove the four remaining ponies by Tuesday.