A deep-pocketed animal-rights activist paid a team of private eyes to spy on Central Park horse carriage drivers for three months in the hope of catching them breaking the law.
Up to six gumshoes would camp outside Manhattan horse stables at 5:30 a.m. and follow drivers all day, sometimes until after midnight, confirmed Mike Ciravolo, an exec at celebrity investigative firm Beau Dietl & Associates.
The Post revealed in January that horse drivers were concerned about mysterious men in black sedans with video cameras tailing them.
“It was unnerving,” said carriage driver Bryan Northam.
Drivers thought the PIs had stopped in late December, but Ciravolo said the surveillance continued until February.
Ciravolo wouldn’t reveal who hired his company or for how much. Past clients of the firm founded by famed ex-NYPD Detective Bo Dietl have paid upwards of $250 per hour.
Drivers suspect the surveillance operation was the work of real-estate mogul Steve Nislick, the co-founder of NYCLASS, a group trying to ban horse carriages.
When confronted by The Post, Nislick said he knew about the video. Asked if he funded the surveillance, he replied, “I’ll get back to you.” He never called back.