More than £15,000 worth of tack has been stolen from a Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) centre in Essex.

Barrow Farm riding centre, in Highwood, had 14 bridles and 14 saddles taken during the break in on Monday (7 December).

The centre has temporarily closed as it has no equipment to offer riding lessons.

This means the 100 children and adults who have lessons there will be unable to ride until more tack is sourced.

The centre is calling for people in the area to keep their eyes open for tack for sale. All the centres tack is marked so is identifiable.

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Essex police are currently investigating the break in.

“We are appalled and saddened by this burglary, which has devastated a vital and much loved charity,” an RDA spokesman told H&H.

“We have offered the group what help and support we can — including an emergency grant — and we understand they are being hugely supported by offers of help and donations in the local area.

“If any good can come of this thoughtless and cold-hearted crime, it is the out-pouring of generosity and kindness shown to Barrow Farm RDA — for which I know they are truly grateful.”

The theft happened between 10pm on Monday 7 December and 8.50am on Tuesday 8 December.

Barrow Farm is based between Chelmsford and Brentwood and has been providing riding and carriage driving lessons for disabled children and adults since 1976, run by chief instructor Anne Mitchell.

The centre started nearly 40 years ago with Exmoor ponies and now has 12 “hard-working dependable ponies with their own individual characteristics”.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Essex police on 101.