A beloved police horse who made national news when he was punched by an angry football fan has passed away - less than a year after retiring.

Tributes have been paid to Bud, whose career spanned 14 years as a police stallion where he served both West Yorkshire and the Metropolitan Police.

He infamously hit the headlines when an angry Newcastle United supporter
struck him on the nose after the Geordies were beaten 3-0 by arch rivals Sunderland at St James' Park in April 2013.

It was an incident that saw offender Barry Rogerson, from Northumberland, jailed for 12 months after he admitted a charge of violent disorder.

Luckily, Bud was unhurt and two years later he was transferred to the Met in London to where he saw out the remainder of his police days before retiring in October 2019 due to ongoing lameness.

A Newcastle fan is pulled to the ground by police after confronting an officer on horseback following Newcastle's 3-0 defeat to Sunderland
The infamous picture of Bud's clash with a Newcastle United fan

His career started back in 2005 at the West Yorkshire force and his duties included local patrols, ceremonial events, football matches and public demonstrations.

He even played a part in helping to teach police officers to ride after his transfer to the capital.

Post-work, 21-year-old Bud settled into retirement at The Horse Trust's Home of Rest for Horses in the Chilterns, but lost his battle with Colic last week.

Barry Rogerson was jailed for 12 months for violent disorder

The home, which is a non-government funded charity, provides respite and sanctuary for horses and ponies who have worked for the police, army, or any other organisation, as well as those who have been subject to cruelty.

Despite his relatively short stay, staff at the home fell in love with Bud, who was also a very popular horse among his human riders who handled him during his working days.

CEO of The Horse Trust, Jeanette Allen, led the tributes to Bud, saying: "Bud had a wonderful retirement, albeit a sadly short one after being taken from us by a fatal colic.

Newcastle Fan punches police horse
The violent punch was also captured on video

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"He spent his days out in our beautiful fields with fellow retirees from the MET; Gawain, Hadrian, Kathleen, Duke and Jedburgh as well as Boris, Huntsman and Trojan who all spent time with other forces as well.

"It is our privilege to care for these incredible animals later in life that along with their officers give so much to our communities and I personally made sure that Bud never saw another football scarf while he is with us!

"We just so wish we could have had him longer, such a brave but gentle boy who remarkably still loved people."