The lives of two rescue horses were put at risk when thieves targeted a Liverpool charity.

Shy Lowen Horse and Pony Sanctuary was burgled on Monday night (22 January) at around 8pm.

Thieves broke through locks on the gate to the yard and stole the rescue centre’s Ifor Williams trailer.

Two horses escaped as they made off with the trailer, crossing a busy road and entering a neighbouring field.

Twelve-year-old Thunder and eight-year-old Basil were spotted by a member of the public, who alerted Bernadette Langfield, chair of trustees for the charity.

“The horses were very lucky to get across the road without getting hit by a vehicle,” Ms Langfield told H&H.

“We’re not in the countryside, we’re on a busy road on the edge of Liverpool. The horses came out of the driveway in the dark so wouldn’t have been visible, particularly Thunder who is black.

“Luckily a passing taxi driver saw them and stayed with them to make sure they stayed on the patch of grass and didn’t get back on to the road.”

Armed with headcollars and a bucket of feed, Ms Langfield was able to catch the pair and return them to the safety of the yard.

Both horses were uninjured, but were shaken up by the incident.

“They were quite stressed and so were the horses that stayed on site,” said Ms Lanfield.

“Basil was abused in the past so he was probably worried about what would happen next.

“All the horses were stirred up and dancing around. They were all quite agitated and they’re never normally like that.”

Ms Langfield reported the stolen trailer to police and launched a Facebook appeal asking the public to look out for it.

“People started replying saying they had spotted it and at around 10pm somebody saw it parked on the side of the road,” said Ms Langfield.

“It was just too much for us to lose. People will say we could have just claimed on the insurance, but if we start making insurance claims it will mean we can’t afford to insure anything.

“We save our insurance for major incidents.”

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Ms Langfield said she was humbled by the support from the public.

“We are based in a deprived area, but the community really looks after this site,” she said.

“As soon as it happened people were phoning us about the loose horses.

“A couple of our volunteers have been quite upset, but hundreds of people tried to help us get the trailer back.

“That’s why we think we found it, we made it too hot to handle. How were they ever going to get rid of it?”

Merseyside Police are now investigating and officers are looking into CCTV footage.

“I would appeal for anybody who can help us with our investigation into this burglary to come forward,” said community inspector Ian Jones.

“It is awful to think that thieves have targeted Shy Lowen, which is a charity providing a vital service for the community, particularly children in our community.

“Preventing these crimes is in everyone’s interest and we will continue to work to prevent this type of crime and lock up those responsible.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Merseyside Police on 101 quoting incident reference number 0518221038 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Shy Lowen Horse and Pony Sanctuary

The charity works with rescue horses that have behavioural issues, alongside young people and adults requiring support.

They provide therapy with children who have been excluded from school, people with anger management issues and ex-military personnel.

“We work with people alongside the horses,” said Ms Langfield, who launched the rescue centre with her husband 18 years ago.

“They help with the training and rehabilitation of the horses and in doing so they heal themselves. Each of them has a journey to go on and they take it together.”

There are currently 55 horses kept at the sanctuary and a further 279 out on loan who have completed their rehabilitation.

The centre is also a licensed riding school.

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